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Case Study: Alternative School for Math & Science

Luke Robbins starts his 6th grade math lesson plans in Squid, creating interactive experiences for his students on his Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 with S Pen.  He outlines the structure for his lesson in Squid, leaves space for students to take notes, and inserts problems for students to solve along the way.  He then exports his note as a PDF to Google Classroom.

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Once students have imported the PDF into Squid from Google Classroom they can take the learning into their own hands.  They follow along while Luke casts his screen to the projector in the classroom.  They take notes, watch Luke solve problems, then solve problems themselves, all directly in the same Squid note.  When they finish, students export their note from Squid as a PDF to the assignment in Google Classroom where Luke can view, grade, and annotate and return each student’s work.

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Luke is a 6th-grade math and informational technology teacher at the Alternative School for Math & Science in Corning, NY.

Luke Robbins
Alternative School for Math & Science
Corning, NY

ASMS is a diverse community of students, teachers and parents, that provides an academically challenging and supportive learning environment uniquely designed for ten to fourteen-year-olds. The students at ASMS use Squid in several classes every day. “To have a student-centered learning environment, students need a variety of mediums to explore content and demonstrate their learning. We chose Squid as our PDF markup software due to its great balance of features and usability,” says Luke.

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“We begin the year teaching universal note-taking techniques and demonstrating some of the things you can do in Squid such as color-coding, creating diagrams, drawing shapes, inserting images, creating text boxes, and resizing and moving objects.”


“Once they have these basics down, I give them access to resource material and let them go.”

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Some of Luke’s favorite Squid features are:

  • write with the pen and erase with the finger

  • configure the side button

  • configure what action the finger performs

  • set the default page background and size when you create a new note

  • insert, crop, move and resize images to make his notes “pop”

  • line and shape tools for when he wants a crisp shape

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Luke has helped his colleagues incorporate Squid into their classrooms, from coloring maps in social studies to describing lab experiments in science.  One math teacher uses split screen to have students watch Khan Academy videos in one screen while using Squid in the other screen as scratch paper to practice the problems.  “Convincing my colleagues to use Squid has been easy,” he says.  “It has enough features and flexibility to allow it to accommodate different teaching styles.”  

“It’s great,” Luke adds.  “Our trash and recycle bins are empty now that we all use Squid.”

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