Skip to main content

iPads in the Writing Center

Over on the listserv WCENTER a few weeks ago there was a discussion of iPads and their uses in writing centers.  I brazenly stated that I was going to keep a list of apps that people mentioned, so here goes:

From Neal Lerner of Northeastern University:
GoodReader: Used for reading and annotating files. Ultimately, we hope to have writing conferences in which writing consultant and student are reviewing the student's paper on GoodReader, jointly annotating, and saving the file for the student writer to use when revising. Used for transferring and having access to files.
Dropbox: Also used for transferring and having access to files.
iThoughtsHD: A mind-mapping tool, useful for idea generation and breaking through those writing blocks.
iBrainstorm: Another tool for generating ideas and then organizing those ideas in ways that nicely lead to a written form.
PlainText: A text editor, useful for taking notes during a consulting session, which can then be sent to students.
Dragon: Voice recognition, ideally useful for recording tutoring sessions.

From me (Clint Gardner):
1) we’ve been playing with both Skype and TinyChat ( for real time online tutoring. 
 2) iBooks has some free writing/language-related online books; there is also Google Books, Nook, and Kindle apps.
3) Wolfram Alpha has a cool app that can answer some pretty complex questions (not writing related)
4) We’ve also played around with voice recordings of sessions. And I’ve been intrigued by Dragon Dictation app.
5) Salt Lake Community College uses Citrix, a server layer that allows iPads and other devices access to office application suites like Microsoft Office. It is pretty slick. 
6) Our home-brewed online reporting system is set up to recognize when a *Pad or smart phone visits it, and formats its output accordingly. I was inspired to update our system to recognize such devices when one of our Peer Writing Advisors showed me how she wrote her reports on her iPhone. Talk about not having a problem with software keyboard.   

From Stephanie Lovelass of Illinois Central College
We use Pages, Dropbox, and various dictionary and translation apps the most. We recently launched Skype-based appointments using the iPads. The Skype app has definitely come in handy! If you're interested, I would be happy to compile a list of apps! 

That is all so far.   If you have more useful apps, post them in a comment and I'll edit this post.


  1. These types of online applications make it easier for private tutors to conduct their classes virtually.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog


Last week, I was talking with colleagues about a future super-secret project (stay tuned) and we got to wondering how many two-year college writing center folks were on WCENTER. WCENTER is the preeminent listserv for writing center folks. I've been a member since 1992, but I don't recall anyone trying to figure out who (demographically) was on the list. Rather than burdening list members with a huge demographic survey, however, I just decided to stick with the original question: what types of institutions are WCENTER users coming from. I only left it up for a few days, so I'm not saying that this survey has captured all potential WCENTER readers/respondents, by the way. My Survey Monkey professional account was expiring, however, and I wanted to download the data. (so much for self-funded research, eh?)

In any case, here we go:

I did suspect that four year plus universities and colleges would dominate the users of WCENTER, given the list's history and the develop…

Results of survey on new media tutoring

A few weeks ago, I queried both the WCENTER and WPA email lists to get their response to a rather unscientific study on tutoring and new media in writing centers.  These are the charted-up results.  I hope to provide some commentary on them at some point when the (new)Jazz are not playing. UPDATE: comments ahoy!

The number of respondents is 118 (n=118). The questions that allowed multiple answers are represented as area graphs to give a better sense of the overall spread of the response.

Most of the respondents were from higher education. This is no doubt due to posting the survey on WCENTER and WPA-L. I am uncertain of the demographics of either of those lists, but I have a well-informed hunch that not many non-higher education folks participate in them.

The purpose of my research is, ultimately, to write an article about tutoring in new media (for wont of a better term) at open access institutions. I was somewhat surprised by the nearly 20% of respondents who don't know…