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Jot! An iPad App

I’ve noticed a lot of piano teachers have iPads. I see them at conventions typing away on their tablets while I’m still trying to find a pen in my purse as I remember that I left my paper back in the room. So I take scribbled notes in the margins of the presenters handouts. I have files of scribbled notes with very wise sayings from some of the great presentations I’ve been fortunate enough to attend. I think I’m rambling, so I’ll get right to the point.

Jot! [$4.99] is a white board app for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod, and I think it’s a fine app to use with older elementary students. It’s easy to learn, quick to set up in a piano lesson, and simple enough for even me to use.

After you download the app from the Apple app store and open it, there is a page to show you how to use it. You will need to refer to this later.

Once the app is installed, it is easy to use with any PDF printable. Here is how to open one of my documents.

Open up my website on your iPad. It’s faster for me to use www.susanparadis.com  but you can use my WordPress blog, too. Follow the links until you get to “download PDF document“. Select it, and it will open on your iPad. Turn your iPad in the same orientation as my printable. This is important. Most of the material I use on the iPad is in landscape orientation, so turn your iPad to the horizontal (landscape) position if the PDF is also in landscape.

Touch the top right corner of your iPad, and the words “Open In” will magically appear. Select, and a pop-up box will appear with an icon of every app on your iPad that will open a PDF document. If you do not see Jot, go to the second or third page by using the tiny buttons on the bottom of the box. Select “Open in Jot!” (You have to have iOS 6 installed or it will not show up.)

Now comes the only hard part of Jot. On the next screen there is a pop-up box that says “Background.” You will see a mini version of my printable. Using your fingers, drag it to fit inside the even smaller red rectangle. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but get it all inside. Any part that is not inside the red box will not show up in Jot! Obviously the guys who made this app are not used to granny eyes!

Click done, and the printable will open and you can draw on it. You can still adjust the size by using the two finger iPad gesture to stretch it bigger.

The menu is on the right side if you are in landscape orientation. Select the squiggly line, a color, and draw away. You can adjust the size of the drawing line. Try out the other boxes and notice you can draw shapes.

There is an undo selection, a way to save documents or send them to parents, and best of all, an eraser. If you press hard on whatever you draw, you can move it around the screen without changing the PDF background. That comes in handy if you want to draw whole notes and move them around the staff.

There is a free version of Jot, so you can try it out. [Edited: This tutorial does not work with the free version, but the free version can give you an idea of how it works. Also, you can take a screen shot of a PDF and use that in the free version.} It is supported by advertisements, which distract me, so I upgraded to the paid version, and it was worth it.

There are other interesting things you can do in Jot, such as real-time drawing collaboration. You can share your document in real-time with users on the internet.  Students can do worksheets on their iPad at home while you watch back in your studio, just as if they were sitting beside you. I have not been organized enough to try that out yet!

I would like to be clear that I do not find writing with a stylus or a finger on a tablet easy for younger children in the  limited time session of a piano lesson. I think it is better for younger children to use hands on activities and not writing on a computer tablet. Jot is better with children over 8 years old. However, parents who have the time to sit and work with their child and guide them will have a better experience.

Disclosure: This review is my opinion after using Jot! for almost a year. I was not paid and I did not receive compensation in any form.  My review was not solicited, nor do the developers know I am writing this review. I discovered Jot! in the app store and bought it after using the free version for several months.

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8 thoughts to “Jot! A Great iPad App for Education

  • Rhonda H

    This is awesome! Just found your post while looking for something else. Bought Jot! and have been downloading several pdfs for tomorrow! Thanks for ALL that you do to make our lives easier as piano teachers!!!!!

  • lizbeth atkinson

    Thank you so much for these instructions. I just figured it out and am having a blast!

  • Priscilla Moffett

    Since the owner of the Skitch company has moved here to Austin maybe
    I can make an appointment with her….wish you could come too! with all
    the tech details I’ll try to track her down…… …
    Pris Moffett

  • Kathy Gault

    Susan, this may be a dumb question, but when you mention drawing on the iPad, what kind of pen or other writing instrument do you use?

    • susanparadis

      I use a stylus made for tablets, which can often be found on sale. I even made my own one time with an flat pencil eraser covered with aluminum foil! It worked ok.

      Fingers work, but I find the accuracy of a finger is not so good. If you’re going to use a finger, you need a large size graphic with not too much other stuff on the page. Honestly, I would not go out and buy one just for piano lessons, but it you already have one, can be fun.

      On Tue, Aug 13, 2013 at 9:15 AM, Susan Paradis' Piano Teacher

      • Priscilla Moffett

        Do I understand correctly…You would not buy a stylus just for piano lessons and this app?
        So you suggest just using a pencil eraser covered with foil and it doesn’t scratch the iPad?

        • Susan Paradis

          Priscilla, you need to buy a stylus. I only made one as an experiment to see if it worked. I’m kind of geeky like that. It was very smooth so it didn’t scratch, but I only tried it out. I did not use it regularly.

          • Priscilla Moffett

            Great! Thanks! and thanks for all the wonderful ideas – Especially liked
            the note value pizza puzzle!!

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