Office on the iPad: Syncing, Inking and Critical Thinking


Guest blog by Jonathan Wylie, Technology Consultant for Grant Wood AEA & Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert. Connect with Jonathan Wylie.

In this hyper-connected world, students and teachers often find themselves working between multiple devices depending on whether they are — at home, at school or on the road. In the past, this wasn’t always a great experience, but today’s Office 365 Education works seamlessly across platforms, allowing you and your students to work anywhere, anytime, and on any device. To demonstrate, here’s a look at just how much you can do with Office on the iPad.

Anywhere, anytime

With your OneDrive or OneDrive for Business account you can use any of the free Office iPad apps and quickly create, view and edit files in the iOS versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Office Sway. Everything is optimized for the iPad screen, but consistent formatting means your documents will look as good on the iPad as they do on a Windows device. You can also access all your email and calendar events through the Outlook email app.

Office on the iPad has a powerful selection of editing tools and includes many of the features you love from the Office 2016 desktop apps. One of the best features is the syncing to your OneDrive account. With all your data saved safely in the cloud, you will always have the latest version of all your digital documents. No duplicates, no lost files — just everything you need, when you need it.

Digital inking tools

Like the Surface, the iPad is a natural home for digital inking. Whether you use a stylus or just your finger, you’re only a few short taps away from a variety of powerful drawing and inking tools. The pen and highlighter are great for marking up drafts of student work, or for collaborating on new lesson ideas with colleagues.

Recent additions like the shape recognition tool in PowerPoint and OneNote mean that you can quickly create diagrams with minimal effort. And the intelligent palm rejection options in OneNote ensure that the ink ends up only in the places you want it.

Best of all, because your files are saved to the cloud, all of the digital inking you do on your iPad will sync to all the other devices where you access those documents.

Screenshot of book report file that syncs in Windows device and iPad

Powerful Multimedia Integration

Office on the iPad is ideal for creating multimedia assignments and for giving students more ways to capture and present their best ideas. The Office apps on the iPad give you direct access to the iPad’s camera so that you can capture photos and videos for your document without leaving the app you are working in. Just snap a picture and see it appear before your eyes in the document you’re working on.

OneNote for iPad’s built-in camera even includes Office Lens functionality for scanning documents, whiteboards, speaker slides and more. And OneNote for iPad also lets you record audio using the iPad’s built-in microphone, making students’ work that much more engaging.

Office add-in options for education

Tools for critical thinking

Just like desktop versions of Office, many of the iOS Office apps support a variety of powerful add-ins – tools that promote critical thinking. With Wikipedia or the Bing Dictionary, students can do research on the fly without switching to the web or other third-party apps. For teachers, Poll Everywhere, Khan Academy, and the Web viewer are great add-ins to enhance and add interactivity to their lessons.

Are you ready for the mobile-first, cloud-first world? With Office for iPad, you can take your learning with you wherever you go and still have access to many of your favorite Office features from Windows. What will you create?


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