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Old 05-19-2012, 06:46 PM   #1
Tom Swift
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Need some advice and suggestions from all the brilliant MobileRead members

The private school where I work is introducing tablets next year and I have been tasked to coordinate the entire thing. They are buying 1200 7" A10 Android tablets from Shenzhen (we are located in Mainland China) and our students will all get one. I got an advance copy of the tablet yesterday, and to be honest, I am not overly impressed. Compared to my iPad, it is pretty rough. However, I am going to have to deal with these and since I will be the guy that everyone will turn to with questions and problems, I will need answers.

First of all, I need recommendations for apps suitable for education. Free apps preferably. Since we are ordering lots of these directly from the factory, we can have apps preinstalled so it would be nice to have them ready to go. The school will purchase paid apps but of course they will prefer free but paid app recommendations are useful as well.

Also, many teachers will primarily be using these as paper replacements by having PDF files on them. I uploaded a PDF I had made using LaTeX and was not too impressed by the size and quality. To be fair, the PDF I had made was optimized for A4 paper. What are the ideal settings when creating PDF files for ideal viewing on a somewhat lower resolution 7" tab? Been doing some searches for this but am having no luck. Any better viewers of PDF files other than Adobe? The only other one on the tablet was PDF to Go and it put black splotches all over the PDF file, which was weird.

I use GoodReader on my iPad for reading and storing PDF files and it is an excellent program. Is there an equivalent free version for Android?

Finally, we plan on using Moodle. Can anyone recommend a good Moodle app for Android? I found that going online directly with the tab was not an overly pleasant experience.

Any advice, suggestions and recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-20-2012, 11:30 AM   #2
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At a minimum:

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a better email app (the stock Android one is crap)

Adobe is pretty good for a free PDF app.

What else can the tablet do? Make sure you have an app for the camera, mike, and so on. And those apps should have sharing options so students can pass info back and forth.
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Old 05-20-2012, 11:47 AM   #3
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At a minimum:

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I'm not brilliant, and the kind of information I am going to link to can become quickly outdated, but the above are all on the Wikipedia List of websites blocked in the People's Republic of China.

For all I know, this is some sort of embassy school and none of the above applies.

My advice to Tom Swift is to use Baidu or similar to find an Android or Moodle forum, maybe one in Chinese.

Last edited by SteveEisenberg; 05-20-2012 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 05-20-2012, 04:57 PM   #4
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You are correct, all three of these are blocked in China. I can't read Chinese so Baidu is out. Even then, the information I need is not really Chinese specific. The students will be installing RenRen, Youku, Weibo and QQ on their own (Chinese rip-off equivalents).

I need suggestions for educational apps and things that will assist teachers and students in their daily classroom activities. I found a Calculus app with a list of the most common functions but it is pretty basic. I tried to download some PDFs again and they were still hard to read. I was playing with Moodle and was having problems selecting buttons online due to the inaccurate screen so I still need a good Moodle replacement.

The big thing is readability. I checked out calibre for its conversions but there was nothing in the presets for 7" tablets and I couldn't find an option in the conversion section to increase the font. Many teachers will be using these as an alternative to printed notes so I need the optimal settings for readability.

Even embassy schools are blocked over here. The only way to view these sites is if a school uses a VPN and I don't know of any school that would have that option for everyone. Usually we just work around the Chinese madness.
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Old 05-20-2012, 11:44 PM   #5
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To add to my question, I work at a Canadian school in China with all our students Chinese and a few Koreans. They all have English as a second language. The topics that are taught are Math, Science (Physics, Chemistry, Biology), English and Socials. Same as a high school in North America.
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Old 05-20-2012, 11:58 PM   #6
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The big thing I am looking for to start is a method to organize documents. I use GoodReader for my iPad and it works great but it costs money. A free version would be useful. After that would be apps for helping in vocabulary building and English. I teach Physics and Math so I am not too familiar with the requirements of other departments but hopefully some people here might have some knowledge in this.
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:22 AM   #7
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Anatomy 3D, MathStudio, MathStudio Formulary PRO, Practice English Grammar, Dictionary.com Flashcards, Calculus Quick Reference, Chemistry Mobile. You'll find that most of these are "aids".
I haven't used any of these personally (I'm a corporate trainer not a teacher). My daughter teaches in Japan and she has looked at them but not been able to use them as they are obviously very low-tech where she is (in the inaka near Sendai); they use books not electronic devices.
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:44 PM   #8
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Thanks for the suggestions. I had to pass on my sample tablet to another teacher so I won't be able to play with these for a few days.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:21 PM   #9
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In China a VPN is the most basic tool. I have used HMA and now IbVPN. Though I haven't tested IbVPN in China yet, since I haven't been there since I switched.
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:49 AM   #10
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Compared to my iPad, it is pretty rough.
Not a surprise you can't compare a high end device to a low end device. A better comparison would have been to use ezPDF/ReplGo with a Transformer

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I uploaded a PDF I had made using LaTeX and was not too impressed by the size and quality. To be fair, the PDF I had made was optimized for A4 paper.
If you are generating the PDF then you should change your LaText code to be optimized for a 7" screen. It will be a much better reading experience for the reader.

If your PDFs are nothing more than text however good readers like RepliGo and ezPDF can easily reflow the PDF and it will look nice. However if you have equations and pretty formating it will be lost. Which I then go back to saying make the PDF optimized for a 7" tablet.

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I use GoodReader on my iPad for reading and storing PDF files and it is an excellent program. Is there an equivalent free version for Android?
Yes there are two that give you a similar user experience. However the Android versions do not have the file management that GoodReader has because that is not really needed in Android. I would install a file management app like ES Explorer to access files and

For PDF readers there are quite a few of them, but personally I like ezPDF and RepliGo the best--however they are both pay apps.

RepliGo is probably the best overall as far as feature and PDF rendering, it's fast and has full feature annotations and great customer support.

ezPDF has a nice UI and has the best zoom/read feature*. ezPDF has two price points one is $1 for it's reading/rendering then the pro $3 for full annotations and cloud storage. It has a nice plugin for dropbox and google docs.

Mantano has a nice PDF reading at it has annotations but it proprietary to Mantano where RepliGo and ezPDF use the Adobe PDF standard annotations. Also its PDF rendering is not as good as the other two.



* what I'm calling the zoom/read feature is when you zoom by double tapping it forms a thin yellow line around the margins and simply tapping the bottom of the page will page next page. This is nice and keeps the reading continuous so one does not have to pan zoom out to read the next section or page.

Last edited by =X=; 05-22-2012 at 11:57 AM.
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