Adding Value?

I recently got a Wacom Bamboo Fun Tablet.

It is fun. So far the only “educational” use it has gotten has been to write up a solution for a math team problem we couldn’t solve last week. Which was nice. I was able to save it as a .png, upload it and email the link. Much faster than scanning or typing. Typing those up is a pain.

I’m trying to decide if and how I can use this in the classroom. I don’t have a smart board. I do have a projector to which I can hook up my laptop.

I don’t know. I’m torn.

Pros:

  • As I’m playing with it, I’m more conscious of “board space” and layout. Which is a good thing.
  • Notes would be archived for students who are absent.
  • Easier to get notes to students with the accommodation of access to teacher/peer notes.
  • I have to slow down when I’m writing on it. This is good as I think I do things too quickly when I’m at the board anyway.
  • Using Skitch, we can write on documents and slides I create. Usually I just project these on the whiteboard.

Cons:

  • Only one person can use it at a time. How would we manage multiple students putting up their work for us to compare methods/solutions? This is a big one. I believe this is important.
  • It isn’t easy to write on legibly without practice. How would the students do? (admittedly, probably better than me…)
  • Writing on the tablet is strange at first. You have to look at the screen while writing on the tablet. I’m still getting used to this and I’ve been playing with it for tens of hours.
  • If I do this, I have to be consistent. I have to upload the images daily so the students have access to them. I need a way to organize them so it is easy for the students to use. My current school web page is … not very flexible.

I don’t want to use something in the classroom just because I can. It needs to add value – and the value needs to outweigh any costs. I think I’m going to ask my mentor about this one. I’m also asking all my other mentors. What do you guys think?

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7 Responses to Adding Value?

  1. Mr. K says:

    What i’ve wanted a tablet for (and preferably a wireless one that i could walk to any kids desk) is to supplement my document camera: i can grab a students paper off of their desk and put it up for the whole class to see. on its own, it’s a great tool. What i really want, though, is the ability to capture a student’s work, and then let another student annotate over it with the tablet. I have one that’s been languishing around our school unused, but i haven’t been able to get it to behave reliably, and I’m not happy with the camera software, or the small but significant amount of effort it takes to switch between Keynote and any other fullscreen app.

  2. Robert says:

    I’ve got a Wacom tablet too, and I use it for screencasting as well as annotating slide presentations. I’m looking at using it in conjunction with screencasting to make review exercise videos which I post online. This Friday, for instance, I have to be gone for a conference, but I am putting up a video debrief of a quiz I am giving. Students will take the quiz in class and then watch the debrief online before class again. It’s a way to give something like real-time instruction but in an asynchronous way.

  3. Jackie says:

    Thank you both for the ideas!

  4. Kristen says:

    There’s a tablet program at my school that I am lucky enough to be a part of. I love my tablet! We also have wireless projectors. It’s great for taking notes (and then saving them to my teacher web page) and marking on anything we’ve done in class. We also have a class set (to share between the math teachers) that the kids can use and work on, then we can project what they’ve done. It’s really been an awesome experience!

    I had a pad last year like you do (it was called an interwrite pad). I liked it then, but the difference between that and my tablet is remarkable.

  5. Mr. Abe says:

    I use a Tablet PC with a projector. I screencast lectures and publish them to our blog. While it’s a great setup for archival, retrieval, and distribution, it’s not very interactive. To get more students involved, I’d like to incorporate an interactive whiteboard. Here’s a way to make your own cheaply:

    http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~johnny/projects/wii/

    I’ve ordered the parts recently ($48) and hope to have it running soon.

  6. Mr. Abe says:

    $48

    I would never use that emoticon intentionally. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Jackie says:

    Interesting. As of yet, I’m still not using it in class. This is something I think I need to figure out over the summer and implement at the beginning of the year. Honestly, I’m tired and I’m not sure how well I’d do at adding something new. I am still looking for ideas, so thanks for sharing your experiences.

    I’m interested to hear how your whiteboard turns out! ๐Ÿ™‚

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