Word Docs and iPads – It’s Getting Easier

ipadCan I edit Word docs on my iPad? The answer, which used to be “No”,  is now “it’s getting easier.”  However, a tablet is not a desktop computer so, even if you have a keyboard added to your ipad, and the official Microsoft Word iPad app,  the user interface will not be the same as the desktop app.

There are 3 challenges to editing word docs on an iPad:

  • Getting the document into the iPad

  • Editing the document

  • Getting the edited document out of the iPad

Below are three apps that allow Word editing, arranged in order of least like the desktop Word to most like it.  Since you can not duplicate the functionality and user interface of Microsoft Word on an iPad, it is important to know which functions are most important to you. How you will be working: where are your documents coming from? Will you be creating them? Editing them for a second time? Do you need a little editing or comprehensive, track-changes-type editing? Do you need to share them after you edit them? Depending on your answers one of these will fill the bill better than the others.


QuickOffice is Google’s solution for those who want to edit Word docs. It allows you to either create a word document or open one that has been mailed to you.  A small editing set allows bold, italic, underline and fonts. Commenting is possible and there is a track changes option but no highlighting. The main issue is how to get the document out of your iPad. The only option is to save it in Google docs. This might make distribution to students easy but will make re-editing the document difficult.  Cost: Free

cloudonCloud On

CloudOn is an app that allows you open a mailed document or create one on your iPad. You save your documents to the cloud. CloudOn had the wisdom not to create yet another cloud. They allow you to use existing cloud storage like Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive,  This means that there is little problem getting documents in or off the iPad.  The editing functions available are much more robust than with QuickOffice. The ribbon menu has options for formatting, page layout, and references The Review.menu contains track changes.  Cost: Free

wordMicroSoft Word for Ipad

For those who must have Word functionality most like the desktop application, MicroSoft recently made available a Word app for iPad. The app by itself only allows you view word documents on your iPad. It must be used with a subscription to Office365 in order to create or edit documents. You save your documents both to the iPad and to the Office 365 cloud. They are therefore available online from any computer with an internet connection. While the word app probably has the functionality most like the desktop version of Word it’s not exactly the same.  For one thing, the document does not exist on your desktop computer unless you download it. The developers have tried to make good use of tactile editing when it makes sense so the user interface is a combination of desktop and app. Strangely, there is no print function.  App: free. Office365 subscription  $69.99 a year (personal subscription)


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SoundCloud and Dragon for Recording and Transcribing Interviews

Submitted by Professor Peggy Walsh. ATI ’13

At the 2013 faculty technology summer institute I discovered more solutions to my instructional challenges than I thought possible by learning from colleagues and experimenting under the direction of the experts. Exploring the scenic Pemigewasset River and climbing Rattlesnake Mountain near Plymouth State University was a bonus at the end of the week.

Looking at my handwritten notes which sloppily covered one of the handouts, I noticed that I wrote and circled “SoundCloud” several times, which led me to return to that “app” last fall when I needed a tool to show students how to create a recording for an oral history project for the Granny D library archives that focused on the theme, “The Power of One.”

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I was delighted that most students in Sociological Research Methods had heard of SoundCloud.  None had used it for creating audio files, so this was a good opportunity to try it out together.  To prepare, students created a guide and used old-fashioned note taking as well as a digital recorder as backup for their interviews when our guests came to class. The free version of SoundCloud offers two hours of audio to be uploaded — gratis. After that, you will need to sign up for a professional subscription. Wi-Fi is also required.  (Note that the library has (or had) corners where the wireless signal is weak!)


Students learned to use the features of SoundCloud with little difficulty.  They conducted their interviews according to plan using the skills and techniques learned in class and uploaded them. We did not use editing features, although that is a goal for the future.

To teach students how to transcribe we tried a few different approaches.  The first was to play the audio and type the words verbatim.  Working in groups is a slow process, but with several people working at once, it is possible to create an accurate transcript of an interview.

To give you a sense of how transcription looks, here is a 30 second clip of an interview:

(:33) Now you’ve got to remember that the context of this is the early ‘60s. I don’t react well — I never have — to someone telling what I have to do. It just frosts my butt. (Laughter.) You know. I don’t want to be obnoxious, but if you can’t tell me why I should do that, I am going to say, ‘I’m not doing that.’ Give me a break. I think the first word out of my mouth that my parents encouraged us to do, was say, ‘Why?’ And if it didn’t make sense, I’m not buying it. And I don’t care if you buy it, but I’m not buying it!” (1:04)

You can listen to the audio to assess accuracy. We also experimented with the voice recognition software, Dragon. Unfortunately, the app does not “hear” the voice recordings nearly as well as a clear speaker with careful diction talking directly into a speaker.  (I find the program helpful for dictating field notes, and the IPhone version is free.)   This gives you a sense of how poorly Dragon transcribed one of our audio recordings – huh?

Mark at the start of the first transcription. (:33) Had a government the context of this Betterly 60s I don’t react well perhaps somebody tell me what I have to do just Frostwood I don’t have helped Alexis but that you can’t tell me why I should do that say to give me Kennybeck persuadable enough that occurrence occurred Cysta Dhoop say why it didn’t make sense about it and I will give you buy it but I am selling some.

I am astounded by how many tools are available to help students (and us) with our work.  One of the aftereffects of the institute for me was very simple.  I began talking with all the teachers I know about their use of technology in the classroom. My education and my comfort with trying out new ideas continues.  Recently a high school teacher in my neighborhood told me about PechaKucha 20×20. You can check it out here: http://www.pechakucha.org/channels/pechakucha/blogs/data-science-for-social-good



For more information about the Granny D project, call me or read:  http://www.keene.edu/news/stories/detail/how-does-a-person-make-a-difference-in-the-world/

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Be Aware of Large PDF Files

Do you have large PDF files that need to be uploaded?  Please consider reducing the file size before doing so.  Large files can clog up already full mailboxes, open slowly or sometimes not at all and can take up allotted space in your LMS (learning management system) course.

How do you easily reduce the file size and avoid possible problems?  One way is to go to:  http://compress.smallpdf.com/ for a free, easy to use tool that compresses these files.  How does it work?  You upload your file to their server; it is compresses and then sent back to you almost immediately.  There is no limit on size or the number of times you can use the service.

Once at the site, simply drag and drop your PDF file to the specified location or locate your file by clicking on Choose file.  Note:  You can ignore the big green Download button at the top of the screen.  Once the file has been compressed click the small Download PDF link and then save the file.  It’s now ready for uploading.  Be aware that not all files will compress.  If a file is already optimized, you may not be able to reduce the file size any more than it is.

SMALLPDF2                                                               Click on image to access the compression tool.



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Copyright and Fair Use in Academia

Thank you to Academic Technology Librarian, Irene McGarrity for leading a session on copyright and fair use on March 25, 2014.

Mason Library resources:

Part 1:

Part 2:


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2014 Academic Technology Institute

image. Nigel Malcolm and Julio DelSesto - ATI 2013

Nigel Malcolm and Julio DelSesto – ATI ’13

Ten KSC faculty have the opportunity to attend the USNH Academic Technology Institute this summer, May 27-30 (Tuesday, Noon – Friday, Noon). It will be hosted by the University of New Hampshire in Durham.  If you are interested in attending, please apply here: http://goo.gl/6RW4W2 Applications are being accepted now through March 7th.

The theme for this year’s event is “Tools you can use: Teaching and learning with technology” and the speaker will be Cable Green of Creative Commons:

Participants will leave with a renewed inspiration to address their courses with the insights gleaned from Institute sessions, including topics such as technology as the teacher’s tool (not the teacher’s taskmaster), assignment design, (rich media) assessment strategies, and related technological issues pertinent to teaching and learning in higher education.

ATI participant Debbie Black (Education) had this to say about her experience:

“I am the most unlikely person to be writing this statement since I resist technology on so many levels. However, the Academic Technology Institute that I attended last summer broadened my thinking about ways that I can use technology as a tool to capture student learning. I now use Coaches Eye, Educreations, Google Docs and Pages on a regular basis in my work. I am teaching my Methods II students how to use this technology as well as elementary-aged students and their teachers. Currently I have three co-investigation science projects going on between a school in Cheshire County and three schools in the North Country. We are all using these technologies.”

Keene State ATI alumni:

2013 (host PSU)
Debbie Black, Chris Burke, Karen Cangialosi, Julio DelSesto, Fitni Destani, Mike Goudzwaard, Amanda Guthorn, Judy Lister, Nigel Malcolm, Peggy Walsh.

2012 (host KSC)
Elizabeth Dolinger, Lisa Hix, Darrell Hucks, Craig Lindsay, Ted Mann, Niall Moran, Tanya Sturtz, Craig Sylvern, Debra White-Stanley, Susan Whittemore.

2011 (host GSC)
Leigh Corrette, Jen Ditkoff, Bill Fleeger, Dick Jardine, Kathy Johnson, John Lund, Allyson Mount, Celine Perron, Nancy Ritchie, Barbara Ware.

If you have questions contact Jenny Darrow or Jeff Timmer who are members of the USNH Academic Technology Steering Committee.

ATI is funded by the USNH Long Range Technology Plan.

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