Teaching, Learning & Technology
Sharing best practices from faculty around the world who are using technology to transform teaching and learning.

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...


 



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


 


 

Comments
Anonymous | ‎06-16-2009 04:17 AM

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.

Anonymous | ‎06-16-2009 05:47 AM

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

Anonymous | ‎06-16-2009 06:02 AM

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.

Anonymous | ‎06-16-2009 06:22 AM

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.

Anonymous | ‎06-16-2009 10:31 PM

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

Anonymous | ‎06-16-2009 10:44 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.

Anonymous | ‎06-17-2009 01:39 AM

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!

Anonymous | ‎06-17-2009 01:41 AM

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

| ‎06-17-2009 01:47 AM

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

| ‎06-17-2009 01:52 AM

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

| ‎06-17-2009 01:53 AM

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

- Jim Vanides

| ‎06-17-2009 01:55 AM

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

Anonymous | ‎06-17-2009 02:27 AM

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

Anonymous | ‎06-17-2009 09:25 PM

I love tablet PC's and they are great, but a Smartboard does give you the ability to write endlessly. It is great too that I have my students attention on me and not looking down at their tablets. The SB allows everyone in the room to see. the TPC then could allow them to continue the work at their seats. Integrating both technologies into my  classroom would be my goal.

Not really that one is better then the other. I do think Black Boards and Dry Erase White boards are going the way of the T-Rex!

Anonymous | ‎07-16-2009 05:45 PM

Try quadpad!

http://quaduro.com

Rohan | ‎10-25-2011 09:31 AM

Hi,

 

I do agree with you,

I have hp tm2 2102 tu, i was using this convertible pc in my classroom in india, i have recommended this to few of my colleagues also, i heard that hp stopped production of these pcs, i have enquired from local sales person and got to know that hp is launching new convertible at a premium cost.

 

I have some questions regarding this, i tried to contact hp sales team, they don't knw much about the use of tablets or convertibles in classroom. It would be helpful of you can give me your contact id or no. so that i can get some feedback from you

 

my email id:- srohanreddy.iit@gmail.com

 

Regards,

Rohan

 

Gerard | ‎11-01-2011 06:29 AM

Can anyone recommend a reliable Tablet?  Name and Model please
jgvanides wrote:

 


...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...


 



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


 


 


 

Tablet Mobile Store | ‎01-05-2012 12:09 AM

because tablet pc is a portable device, lighter than laptop, you Can use it anywhere. and no need big space to use it. just like book, even smaller than that

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Jim Vanides is responsible for the vision, strategy, design, and implementation of education technology innovation initiatives. His focus is...
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