Top 10 Countdown/Tablet Tips

Leverage your computing knowledge:
Classroom techniques from a tablet pro.

Tom FarrellInitially a self-described “big doubter” about the usefulness of tablet PCs, Tom Farrell has explored the technology thoroughly and is now a proponent, leading the charge at his home institution, Dakota State University (SD). As a college instructor, Farrell taught in health and physical education for 14 years, followed by another 20 years in computing and computer science. Today, besides his teaching, he gives workshops and presentations coast-to-coast and internationally, evangelizing the tablet PC to his colleagues. His workshops take advantage of participants’ existing computing knowledge, adding tablets into the mix, to “…expand the horizons of teaching and learning.” Farrell taught a half-day workshop, “A Tablet PC for the Classroom,” last month at Syllabus2005 in Los Angeles.

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10

Use the tablet’s open-form factor to achieve greater interactivity in your classroom.

  • Your students can no longer hide from you—or from each other—behind their monitors or displays.
  • As an instructor, you don’t have to constantly duck down to access the computer that stores your presentation.
9

Add life and color to your presentations on the spot with informative pen annotations (digital ink).

  • Your handwriting adds a personal touch, so make pen annotations directly onto your projected slides and visuals.
  • Using the tablet’s pen, you can easily make freehand diagrams on the fly.
8

Share. Post your presentation before and/or after class, including all your pen annotations.

7

Incorporate electronic textbooks and related digital materials.

  • You can project, explore, and enhance these materials during class.
  • It’s easy to provide the entire class with updates and enhancements, as needed.
6

Listen! Don’t forget the audio capabilities of your tablet.

  • Enhance your presentations with pertinent audio clips.
  • You can even use the speech-to-text conversion capabilities of your tablet during your materials preparation time. Enjoy “La-Z-Boy computing!”
5

Collect, grade, and return your assignments electronically.

  • You’ll enjoy the benefits of going paperless with digital ink markup.
  • Save copies of your students’ graded work—paperlessly, of course.
4

Take a walk! Carry your tablet and move around the classroom, while using wireless projection.

  • Get to know your students better, even the ones who opted for the back bench.
  • Switch to projection from a selected student’s tablet.
3

Use interactive software and visualizations, and access online resources during class.

  • Create templates for assignments and quizzes.
  • Use graphing functions and involve students in charting and graphing.
  • Consider concept mapping software and other visual applications that can be manipulated in the classroom environment.
2

Leverage the features of the tablet operating system.

  • Use the Windows Journal tool that comes with tablet PCs. It allows you to copy a Web page and then make digital markups.
  • Remember, your Windows Journal markups are searchable.
1

Wield the power of the pen!

  • Train your students to use their tablets for pen-based notetaking.
  • The whole class can share their pen annotations on your presentation slides.
  • Easily convert handwritten passages to text.
  • Be spontaneous and encourage collaboration!
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