In my previous post about GoodNotes 4 for the iPad, I discussed several changes that would improve the program (sorry, I mean “app”) for academics. One of these was to set the level of zoom used by the zoom box (this is probably not its official name). The rest of my proposed changes stand, but on this point I was an idiot.
It turns out that the zoom box can be easily resized, either by dragging the bottom-right corner of the box that appears over the regular-sized text or by using the same pinch-to-zoom gestures that are used for documents and all over iOS and other mobile operating systems within the zoom box. For a comparison, note the size of the zoom box in this image from last week’s post and then look at the image below:
In this image you can see the size of my writing at various levels of zoom. More importantly, you can see the effects of different levels of zoom on the clarity of my handwriting. Last week I said that I was concerned about my ability to use the iPad for grading because it was difficult to write legibly. For some reason, using the higher zoom settings best approximates my pen-on-paper handwriting, even though the zoom box requires me to write much larger than I would on paper. (The resulting size of the text is probably pretty close to the size of my normal handwriting.) After recognizing this, the legibility of my journal article annotations increased dramatically.
I don’t completely understand the technology used in the screens of iPads and other devices, but from my experience with trying to apply my pen-on-paper writing style to stylus-on-glass, it is clear that there are major differences. Some of this is likely the result of software, since these devices are optimized for inputs from fingers. Nevertheless, using the higher levels of zoom solves nearly all of the problems I initially had and makes me confident in my ability to grade student work electronically, as you can see in the areas highlighted with green that I added to my image from last week:
This doesn’t mean that my other suggestions wouldn’t improve my experience, but after some additional time I can confidently say that GoodNotes 4 does allow me to do the basic things I want to do in order to digitize my workload.
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