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11 Reasons Why a Tablet PC is Better

 ...better than what? OK, the full title should have been "Eleven Reasons Why a Tablet PC + Digital Projector is Better Than a Whiteboard or Overhead
 Projector... and Sometimes Smarter Than a Smartboard". I'm still frequently asked what a Tablet PC can do. Once I explain that they do everything a laptop does
 PLUS you can draw in the screen, then the next obvious question becomes, "How does this help me in class?" Below are 11 reasons to consider a tablet pc, based on the
 experiences of our HP grant recipients...

 While many of the examples I blog about are 1-to-1 settings where all the students and the teacher are interacting through their own tablet pc, there are many examples of
 what can be done with ONE tablet in a classroom. In fact, most of the original HP Technology for Teaching grants (2004-2008) supported teams of teachers, each with one
 tablet pc. I even heard the descriptor, "The One Tablet Classroom" first from Dr. Ricky Cox at Murray State, the site of another HP Technology for Teaching grant.

 So why all the excitement about one tablet pc in a classroom?

 Below is my list of 11 examples, gathered from the innovations and comments from HP grant recipients. These are not ideas - these are real examples from real classrooms
 where real differences in student learning are being reported.




 Why a Tablet PC + Digital Projector is Better Than a Whiteboard or Overhead Projector

        I don't need to erase to keep going - With a whiteboard, when it fills up, out comes the eraser. If you're a student who is not a fast note taker, game over. Infinite
         digital space is so much nicer, because you don't interrupt the train of thought.
        I can go BACKWARD and answer dangling questions - This example came from a high school geometry teacher in Georgia who uses the infinite pad of digital
         "paper" in MS Journal to present from. She used to use an overhead projector with a somewhat infinite roll of acetate. She explained that because her presentation
         annotations were easily accessible, she had a student (for the first time ever) ask her to go BACK 3 pages to where she was five minutes ago. Students don't stop
         thinking after you erase your whiteboard!
        I can archive and share my presentation after class - Many teachers report that they create a "master file" of their lesson plans, and present from a copy so they
         can annotate and save it for post-class distribution. This has an interesting effect of changing student note-taking - they start to shift from "transcribers" to "thinkers".
        I can easily incorporate rich media into my classroom - Why limit our teaching to words scrawled on a whiteboard? Back in the day, videos (or even farther back
         in the dark ages with movies and film strips!) were run on a separate system requiring more equipment, more hassle, and sometimes a "film monitor" (am I dating
         myself?). Today, with a tablet pc and an internet connection, we can bring video, audio, web-content, even live polling and videoconferencing with guest speakers,
         into our classrooms to support presentations - and more importantly - the discussions and questions that follow.
        I can more easily overlay annotations on images - This is nearly impossible on a whiteboard, and only possible-but-a-hassle on an overhead projector. Heaven
         forbid you should want to ERASE an annotation to make another point. What a mess!
        I have a million colors at my fingertips - not ON my fingertips. I don't miss the days of chalk (three colors, if you can find them) and erasable pens (a packet of 6
         colors, if you were really hip)




 But there are more reasons to consider a Tablet PC. The following examples are specific to why a Tablet PC + Digital Projector is smarter than a SmartBoard:




        I can make the image HUGE so everyone can see - In one classroom I visited, the projector was in the back of the classroom and the image took up the entire
         cinderblock wall up front. Needless to say, all the students could see just fine. In fact, they seemed to be GLUED to the content.
        I can face my students - Teachers know that learning is social, and eye contact can tell you a LOT (and help you manage your classrooms). Besides, it's simply
         more friendly to have a face-to-face interaction with our students!
        I can present from the BACK of the room so students focus more on the content - This turns out to be an advantage for students, too. One student I spoke to,
         when asked what's different in his "one tablet classroom", said, "I like to come up and work the problems". I asked him why that was different than coming up to the
         whiteboard, and he said, "No one is looking at me!" This turns out to be extremely important for many students, and it was made possible because his teacher had the
         tablet in the back of the classroom.
        I can take it home or on a field trip - Who doesn't prepare lesson plans at home or at a local café? Plus, if your projector isn't mounted to the ceiling, you can bring
         your presentation system anywhere that learning is liable to be happening...
        I can create video podcasts before (or during) class - A tablet pc and a Bluetooth microphone turn out to make a terrific podcast platform when combined with
         screencast software like Camtasia (see my Tablet PC Tip #5). I am particularly intrigued by the increasing interest in pre-recording presentations and assigning them
         as homework. This has two benefits: You never have to give that talk again (it's saved for posterity), and more importantly, you can use the time you save in class for
         more class discussion




 I know that this is not a static list - there are many more great examples of tablet pc use. So if you've made the switch from overhead projector, whiteboard, or even
 SmartBoard to a Tablet PC, please post a comment and share your thoughts and experiences. I look forward to hearing from you...




http://www.communities.hp.com/online/blogs/highered/archive/2009/06/13/11-reasons-wh... 6/16/2009
11 Reasons Why a Tablet PC is Better - Teaching, Learning & Technology in Higher Edu... Page 2 of 4



 Jim Vanides, B.S.M.E, M.Ed.
 Worldwide Education Programs
 HP Global Social Investment
 Hewlett-Packard
 Twitter @jgvanides

 For information about the HP Global Social Investments, visit www.hp.com/hpinfo/grants




 Posted 06-13-2009 6:19 PM by jgvanides
 Filed under: Tablet PC, Innovations in Teaching [Edit Tags]


 Comments
  Jwatson wrote re: 11 Reasons Why a Tablet PC is Better                                                                                                                        Delete
  on 06-15-2009 5:46 PM


  I am wondering what you are using to transmit your signal from your tablet to your smartboard? Will it work with video? I had thought the wireless transfer rate was not
  fast enough.

  I agree in the near future (within 5 years) these smartboards are going to be obsolete and collecting dust


  Hiram Cuevas wrote re: 11 Reasons Why a Tablet PC is Better                                                                                                                   Delete
  on 06-15-2009 7:17 PM


  Jim,

  The timing of your post couldn't be better. As a school we opted for tablets for its flexibility but we still have quite a bit of PD to do with our faculty to maximize the device's
  potential.

  Granted IWB have their benefits but I am a strong believer in moving the teacher away from the front of the room. The minitablet and netbooks already seem to be
  changing the landscape and they lend themselves to more collaborative approaches.


  Maria H. Andersen wrote re: 11 Reasons Why a Tablet PC is Better                                                                                                              Delete
  on 06-15-2009 8:47 PM


  12. Your students can record screencasts on your tablet when they finish groupwork ahead of the rest of the class (see teachingcollegemath.com for examples).

  13. You can highlight on a tablet (but not on a whiteboard). While this may not seem like a huge deal, it really is. Notice how much easier it is to understand the process
  in these math problems: teachingcollegemath.com


  Shams Khan wrote re: 11 Reasons Why a Tablet PC is Better                                                                                                                     Delete
  on 06-15-2009 9:02 PM


  I have been a longtime advocate of Tablet Pcs. I want someone (or MS) to create an integrated solution (using Bluetooth, perhaps?) for collaborating using Tablet PCs in
  the classroom. Where screens can be shared and the professor can pick and choose whose work is displayed on the screen (with their permission, of course). No more
  getting up and walking to the board to show how to solve a problem. This can make class (or board meetings) interactive.


  Lynn Jones wrote re: 11 Reasons Why a Tablet PC is Better                                                                                                                     Delete
  on 06-15-2009 9:22 PM


  Except for being able to draw on the screen, all of these benefits also obtain by having a regular computer connected to a projector for the instructor to use. Hardly a
  novel arrangement. For many disciplines, being able to draw isn't necessary, but being able to project a Word document that you add to during class is.


  Kathleen Hagen, khagen@nova.edu wrote re: 11 Reasons Why a Tablet PC is Better                                                                                                Delete
  on 06-16-2009 1:31 PM


  May I have permission to use your 11 reasons list in my faculty development newsletter? I'd like to help spread the word.


  Andrew Knudsen wrote re: 11 Reasons Why a Tablet PC is Better                                                                                                                 Delete
  on 06-16-2009 1:44 PM


  Shams,

  There are some options out there for interaction between tablets in a classroom. Two that I am familiar with are Classroom Presenter (freeware) and DyKnow (not
  freeware). We have used both. There are, of course, some glitches, but they can do exactly what you are talking about.


  Kevin M wrote re: 11 Reasons Why a Tablet PC is Better                                                                                                                        Delete
  on 06-16-2009 4:39 PM




http://www.communities.hp.com/online/blogs/highered/archive/2009/06/13/11-reasons-wh... 6/16/2009
11 Reasons Why a Tablet PC is Better - Teaching, Learning & Technology in Higher Edu... Page 3 of 4



  I followed the link from an article on the Chronicle of Higher Education's Wired Campus page chronicle.com/.../index.php

  Judging from the comments there and here, I think you might want a chart listing comparable features of chalk, whiteboard, keyboard-computer classroom, smartboard,
  and tablet-computer classroom. Possibly including print handouts and lectures with no visual aids.

  Aparently, this simple comparison of two technologies is TOO simple for some academics.

  I've never thought to use my tablet this way

  and I'm looking forward to trying it!


  meeka1234 wrote re: 11 Reasons Why a Tablet PC is Better                                                                                                                        Delete
  on 06-16-2009 4:41 PM


  I do the same thing (teach) with a Mac & Wacom tablet. Things I'd add to the list:

  1) Can easily watch "parts" of a video (Back in the day, you'd set up the VCR and watch the whole thing. Now, pause Quicktime, discuss, diagram on the video, etc... then
  move on.

  2) Students can interact with the screen. I use twiddla.com to pull up a browser whiteboard. Kids with tablets can write on the screen from their desk.

  3) Textbooks are now being given to us in .pdf's. I can highlight important points, explain diagrams, pictures, etc.

  My 2 cents.

  meeka


  jgvanides wrote re: 11 Reasons Why a Tablet PC is Better                                                                                                                        Delete
  on 06-16-2009 4:47 PM


  Kathleen (and others who may be interested) - Yes, of you are most welcome to share this article in your faculty development newsletter! My only request is that you say
  where it came from by including a link back to my blog. The shortcut is www.hp.com/go/hied-blog.

  You may want to share some of the other comments, too, as I'm seeing some terrific additions to my list of 11 reasons...

  If you have any feedback from your faculty, let me know!

  - Jim Vanides


  jgvanides wrote re: 11 Reasons Why a Tablet PC is Better                                                                                                                        Delete
  on 06-16-2009 4:52 PM


  Shams - You asked for a solution "...Where screens can be shared and the professor can pick and choose whose work is displayed on the screen (with their permission, of
  course)..." The good news is that several software packages exist already to do screen sharing. Some are free, like Classroom Presenter from the University of
  Washington. Others are commercial, like DyKnow and NetSupport School.

  - Jim Vanides


  jgvanides wrote re: 11 Reasons Why a Tablet PC is Better                                                                                                                        Delete
  on 06-16-2009 4:53 PM


  Meeka - Thanks for the additions to the list! I'm going to have to check out Twiddla.com - thanks for sharing!

  - Jim Vanides


  jgvanides wrote re: 11 Reasons Why a Tablet PC is Better                                                                                                                        Delete
  on 06-16-2009 4:55 PM


  Maria - I *love* the idea of students using screencasts for submitting solutions, especially for student groups that finish their work faster than other groups. It's a great
  strategy for differentiating instruction without having to complicate your lesson plan! Thanks for sharing...

  - Jim Vanides


  Meg Stewart wrote re: 11 Reasons Why a Tablet PC is Better                                                                                                                      Delete
  on 06-16-2009 5:27 PM


  Comprehensive list, Jim. Thanks for posting it. Add into this mix - COST. One tablet PC in a classroom can do so many great things at a fraction of the cost of a
  Smartboard. I constantly scratch my head on that one. I like to think of Smartboards as expensive, non-portable versions of tablet PCs.

  Thanks,

  Meg




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