4 reasons your PDF report can't be read on a small device

Having waxed lyrical about the joys of reading PDF documents on my Kindle instead of having to lug around a load of paper (see 5 reasons that educators should use a Kindle), I had a rude awakening today. I downloaded a PDF research report and fired it off to my Kindle, with the intention of reading it on the train. Unfortunately, it proved to be unreadable on my Kindle, and trying to read it on my phone was not exactly an unequivocal success either.

Think mobile

Think mobile

Here are the reasons, which I suggest ought to be addressed by anyone who decides to create a PDF. Google penalises websites that are not mobile-friendly. PDFs that are not mobile friendly will be penalised simply by virtue of the fact that people won't read them or pass them on to others. So thinking mobile is important if you want your stuff to be read.

Font is too small

One of the drawbacks of reading a PDF on the kindle is that you can't alter the font size. So if the font is too small to start with, that's a big disadvantage. On a phone you can expand the text, but at the cost of having to scroll horizontally as well as vertically. It's not a great experience.

Poorly contrasting colours

Trying to read orange text on a white background is challenging at the best of times. Trying to do so on a Kindle that displays only in black and white is next to impossible.

White text on a black background

It might look good, but it's much harder to read than black text on a white background.

All capitals

IT'S PRETTY HARD TO READ TEXT THAT IS ALL UPPER CASE (ESPECIALLY IF THE TEXT IS SMALL, AND EVEN MORE SO WHEN THE COLOUR SCHEME IS POOR). WHY DO YOU THINK ROAD SIGNS TEND TO BE IN LOWER CASE? LOWER CASE AIDS READING BECAUSE BY SEEING THE SHAPES OF THE WORDS YOU CAN READ THEM MORE QUICKLY, AND IT'S LESS STRAIN ON THE EYES.

Conclusion

These days, a huge number of people access web-based content on a mobile device. According to a recent report, by 2017 mobile devices will generate 68% of internet traffic.

Unreadable PDFs, in which form is considered more important than function, really ought to be relegated to the dustbin of digital history.

When it comes to mobile learning, timing is everything

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E is for… Equality

Digital FlowEquality is a big issue in education, especially in connection with technology. For example, we are used to hearing phrases like “the digital divide”. But what does “equality” mean in this context – or, more pertinent perhaps, what should it mean?

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BYOD Case Study: Sheffield High School

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BYOD Case Study: Wildern School

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BYOD Case Study: Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital

ipod nano vector artThe unique challenge for the Children's Hospital School is balancing the need and desire to enable all long stay students to be able to access their own device with the need for security. Although this challenge is faced by other schools, the uniqueness in this case stems from the fact that 80% of the student population changes very frequently, so the school has little idea what devices students will be bringing.
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BYOD Case Study: The Arnewood School Academy

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iPads, tablets and learning

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So why do I have the feeling that there is something – a quite fundamental “something” – missing?

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BYOD Case Study: St Crispin’s School

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St Crispin’s was attracted to the idea of BYOD because, as Mike Elward, Assistant Head/Director of e-learning says

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Responsible Use

Girl with a tie, who's the boss now?The general thrust of education these days is on student-centred learning. This is often expressed by depicting on the teacher’s role as being the guide on the side rather than the sage on the stage. Regardless of whether you agree that that’s how things should be (and as it happens I don’t: see Please! No More Mantras!), the often-stated philosophy these days is that students know best.

But does stating that philosophy mean that it is observed in practice?

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BYOD Case Study: George Spencer Academy

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The school decided to go down the BYOD road in order to be able to explore the potential of personal devices without incurring costs of purchase, training or technical support. The idea also fits very well with the school’s vision, which is concerned with giving a personalised learning experience to all students.

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Mobile Learning: A Visit to Flitch Green Academy

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Flitch Green Academy is somewhat unprepossessing – at least from the outside. But once you go through the door, it’s a different story.

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Recommended reading

ReadingHere is a selection of online articles that I think worth reading – some of them are my own (he says modestly), but others are others’! They cover a wide range of topics, including the flipped classroom, Bring Your Own Technology, what happens in an internet minute, up and coming conferences and others.

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BYOD Case Study: Finborough School

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Finborough School is an independent, ie private, all-through school, ie age range 2-18, in a rural English setting. It has 274 pupils.

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Mini-review of the Motivating Educators, Inspiring Learners Conference

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BYOD Case Study: Archbishop Lanfranc School

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BYOD: What’s in a name?

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