Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Tablet PC--The Future of Teaching and Learning?

I've been meaning to get around to writing a long post about the potential of the Tablet PC to facilitate teaching and learning. That long post will have to wait, but now's a good time to bring up the subject.

In September of 2004 I organized a demonstration showing how one faculty member uses the Tablet PC in his teaching. More than 40 faculty attended. After witnessing the capabilities of the Tablet PC and its pedagogical possibilities, at least 35 of the 40 left breathlessly anticipating that Socrates Tech would undertake a ubiquitous computing initiative requiring Tablet PCs. When faculty see how a Tablet PC can be used in class, it usually bowls them over.

For example, with a Tablet PC I can walk into class and start writing my lecture notes on the surface of a Tablet PC, instead of on paper, a transparency, or on the board. I can easily draw graphs, which is impossible to quickly do using a mouse and a standard laptop or desktop PC. After class, I can go to my office and upload the file containing my class notes from the Tablet PC to WebCT.

The author of the linked paper has it figured out:

The suggested approach provides a method to quickly create live digital lecture presentation material that does not require an instructor to significantly alter his existing mode of teaching. The digital content produced during the lecture can easily be used to create a course website with minimal required skills.

The laptops are becoming very common these days and the cost of a Tablet PC is slightly higher than a regular laptop. A combination of networked Tablet PC with a wireless projection system would eliminate the need to purchase expensive electronic blackboard system. The suggested combination could also be used in a portable mode to convert any regular classroom into an electronic classroom.

The lecture notes created using this process lack the instructor’s voice due to the missing capability of the program to include the digital audio files. There is a need to improve the suggested process to provide a richer multimedia experience.



Anonymous Kenrick Mock said...

Regarding the last comment on the digital files lacking the instructor's voice, it is relatively easy to capture the audio and screen using technology such as Camtasia or Captivate. The result is a Flash file of manageable size. See my web page ( for some examples.

4:50 PM  
Blogger The Tablet PC In Education Blog said...

Thanks for your comments. Bob Heiny

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Microsoft OneNote provides the writing surface described in the article and in addition the built-in ability to not only capture audio AND video, but also to index the captured content such that it is tied directly to what is written and when. The result is that when playing back the audio/video for a lecture I can use the pen to tap on a particular word or drawing in my notes and the audio/video will advance/rewind to the point during the lecture when that note or drawing was written.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Ronald M. Ayers said...

Wow! I have more to learn on this topic. I'll get back to it when the summer term is over. Too much to do until then. Thanks, everybody for the info.

4:31 AM  

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