A Maryland high school math teacher has launched an educational app for the iPad that allows students to add their own notes and markups to teachers’ Word, PDF, and PowerPoint files without the need to convert those files to another format.
Kevin Giffhorn had the idea for the eNotebook app, which he says is the first app of its kind, roughly a year ago—around the time he saw iPads starting to make their way into education.
“Everyone was having to adapt their files,” said the Carlisle, Pa., grad whose first teaching job was also at Carlisle High School.
Struck by the possibilities of an app that would allow for quick and easy access to a variety of files, as well as note taking, Giffhorn founded WeLearn Educational Software and commissioned the Silicon Valley company IndiaNIC to develop his idea into a working app.
“It’s just really neat working with them and seeing something that I wrote down on paper and had in my head … become a workable, usable app,” Giffhorn said. “It’s kind of amazing still that no one’s done it yet, but it’s nice to be first.”
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After three months of beta testing by K-12 and college students, the app went live in Apple’s App Store last month for $4.99.
The basics of the eNotebook app are simple. Students can take a teacher or professor’s presentations, whether they are created in Word, PowerPoint, or PDF format, and add their own notes or markups to them just as if they were working with a hard copy—whether that means writing a formula or date in the margins or highlighting an important piece of information.
What the eNotebook app does goes beyond its basic functions, however. There are numerous possible implications of such a software program.