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The Benefits of Tablet PC’s for Educators. February 13, 2004 Kenrick Mock Computer Science University of Alaska Anchorage [email protected] One Motivating Factor. Hoarding Erasers, Fall 2003

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The benefits of tablet pc s for educators

The Benefits of Tablet PC’s for Educators

February 13, 2004

Kenrick Mock

Computer Science

University of Alaska Anchorage

[email protected]

One motivating factor
One Motivating Factor

  • Hoarding Erasers, Fall 2003

    • From: Alicia Howe Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2003 8:57 AMSubject: Erasers in classrooms!We have just been informed by facilities that instructors are responsible for bringing erasers with them to their classrooms. If you bring an eraser with you to class, please remember to take it with you when you leave. The department just bought some small erasers yesterday and we are ordering some of the big ones today. We have 1 big one and 5 small ones in the supply cabinet. Thanks!


  • Describe what a Tablet PC is, current technology

  • Tablet PC features in Office

  • How Tablet PC’s are being used in education

    • Lecturing

    • Collaboration

    • Discipline-specific applications

  • Other academic and general-purpose uses

    • Note-taking

    • Grading and reading documents

    • Creating figures and diagrams

    • Brainstorming

What is a tablet pc
What is a Tablet PC?

  • Notebook running Windows XP Tablet Edition

    • Revival of pen-based computing idea; finally got it right?

    • Built-in support for Ink

      • Draw with stylus, active digitizer

      • Handwriting recognition

      • Also support for speech recognition

    • Unlike a PDA, the Tablet PC runs everything on a normal Windows XP machine

  • Form Factors

    • Slate

    • Convertible

  • Currently entering second generation of devices

    • All with built-in wireless capabilities

    • Lonestar in Q2 of 2004

Sample of current tablet pc technology
Sample of Current Tablet PC Technology

  • 10” to 14” screen, mostly 1024x768

  • Mostly 1.0-1.6 Ghz Pentium M

  • $300+ more than non-tablet notebook

Electrovaya SC2010

P-M, 1.2Ghz, 512 MB,

60 Gb, 12” XGA

3-4 lbs, detachable keyboard

9 hour battery life

HP TC1100

P-M, 1Ghz, 512 MB,

40 Gb, 10.4” XGA

3-4 lbs, detachable keyboard

Fujitsu T3010

P-M, 1.4Ghz, 512 MB,

60 Gb, 12” XGA

4 lbs

Gateway M275

1.6Ghz, 60 Gb, 512 MB,

14” XGA

6 lbs, DVD

Toshiba Portege M200

P-M, 1.5Ghz, 512 MB,

40 Gb, 12” SXGA (1400x1050)

4.6 lbs

Entering data
Entering Data

  • Stylus serves as a mouse

  • Ink - when application supports it

  • Text Input Panel (TIP) when application does not support ink

    • Handwriting recognition

    • Speech recognition

Office apps

Microsoft Office XP (with extensions) and 2003 enabled for ink


Handwrite email messages

Word & Adobe Acrobat

Annotate documents with ink


Annotate presentation, content creation

OneNote & Journal

Note-taking application tailored for the Tablet PC

Office Apps

Educational use
Educational Use? ink

  • How are instructors using Tablet PC’s today?

  • Many are using tablets with a projector & Journal or OneNote to replace the traditional whiteboard/blackboard

  • Benefits

    • Supports real-time writing; everything does not need to be done in advance, as in PowerPoint

      • Some material difficult to do in PowerPoint (e.g. equations, Chinese)

      • Material can still be prepared in advance

    • Can archive lecture content, don’t need tablet PC to view

    • Face toward class instead of toward the board

    • No messy chalk, markers, or erasers needed

      • Can return to material that would be erased on a board

      • But do need a projector

Tablet enabled lectures
Tablet-Enabled Lectures ink

  • Example:

    • Dr. Rafael Lopez-Mobilia’s lecture notes in Physics from UTSA

Tablet based lecture
Tablet-Based Lecture ink

  • Nice, but sometimes the final static lecture file is not enough

    • Can be unintelligible without real-time information, audio

    • My CS A201 lecture

Screen capture
Screen Capture ink

  • One solution is to capture the screen and audio into a movie file

    • I used Camtasia Studio to capture the screen, audio, and convert the resulting movie into Flash format

    • Viewable on all modern browsers

  • Disadvantages

    • Large file size; about 20Mb for one hour at 1024x768

      • Can trade-off with lossy encoding schemes, e.g. Windows Media Encoder

    • Built-in microphones generally of poor quality

    • Must remember to provide all gestures, interactions, on screen

    • As an example, this presentation will be captured and made available at

Classroom presenter
Classroom Presenter ink

  • System developed at the University of Washington

  • Components

    • Instructor uses Tablet PC wirelessly to communicate with server

    • Server hooked up to projector

    • Students also have Tablet PC’s to view and annotate instructor’s slide

Collaboration possibilities
Collaboration Possibilities ink

  • If all students in the class have Tablet PC’s then interesting collaboration opportunities are possible with the wireless networking

    • Classroom Presenter

      • Students submit answers to questions, instructor can select submissions to display to the class

    • Collaboration via Synchronous Course Management System

      • E.g. Shared Whiteboard in Blackboard

      • Possible over distance with systems such as Centra or Elluminate that share audio as well as whiteboard/slide content

    • Groove Workspace

      • Shared files, instant messaging, project management, Office integration

Other classroom uses
Other Classroom Uses ink

  • Real-Time Grading?

    • Could feasibly complete exams on the computer (both multiple choice and essay) and upload to instructor

  • Brainstorming and Design

  • Note Sharing

    • Various applications developed

  • Instructor feedback?

    • Could provide instant feedback to gauge audience’s comprehension

  • Distance Education?

    • Possibilities for distance education, can share data across a network with tools such as Media Encoder or NetMeeting

Discipline specific applications
Discipline-Specific Applications ink

  • Tablet PC applications for specific disciplines are just emerging

  • Mathematics

    • xThink calculator

    • Upcoming Math Journal product

  • Physics

    • MagicPaper

Art ink

  • Pen is pressure-sensitive on most models

  • Alias Sketchbook Pro

Music ink

  • Composition Tool, Brown University

Software development
Software Development ink

  • Tablet UML – Unified Modeling Language

    • Graphical language used to specify the requirements and design of software systems

Gis mapping
GIS & Mapping ink

  • GIS and Mapping

  • Ruggedized Tablet PC for Military uses

Health care
Health Care ink

  • Tablet PC’s increasingly popular among physicians

  • Access to EMR (Electronic Medical Records) over the Tablet and wireless LAN

    • View, update chart, digital images, write Rx, send to billing all while with the patient

    • “Replacement of handwritten charts and scattered medical files with a unified system of computer records.”


Applications for children
Applications for Children ink

  • Lots of child-oriented applications

    • Math

    • Art, painting

    • Learning to write in cursive

Uses outside the classroom
Uses Outside the Classroom ink

  • Preparing figures and diagrams

    • Often easier to draw with the pen than a mouse

  • Grading papers

    • If submitted electronically, can mark-up with the Tablet and avoid a big stack of papers

  • eBooks

    • Easier reading of electronic books, magazines

  • Web

    • New applications such as TabletBlogger, incorporate ink with blog

  • Instant Messaging

    • Communicate with students or colleagues in ink with MSN Messenger

General applications
General Applications ink

  • Planning, Contacts, Calendaring

    • Franklin Covey TabletPlanner

    • Organize handwritten or electronic notes, tasks, calendar, contacts, Word, Powerpoint, etc.

  • Microsoft OneNote

    • Tool to organize handwritten notes

    • Less intrusive than typing

      in meetings or conferences

    • Store meeting notes in one place

      instead of on paper in file folders


    • Notes are searchable

Sounds great but
Sounds Great, But… ink

  • Some disadvantages of Tablet Technology

    • Keyboards mostly small

    • Screen resolution limited on most models to 1024x768

    • Software applications limited, but growing

    • Handwriting recognition average

    • Clicking a little tricky

    • More expensive

    • Requires projector in classroom, may have difficulty using, setting up, smaller writing area than large black/whiteboard

    • Learning curve, around four days

    • Most require external CD-ROM

    • Display viewing angles often poor

Summary of benefits
Summary of Benefits ink

  • Many benefits of Tablet PC technology for educators and administrators

    • Digital Ink more powerful than a blackboard

      • Don’t need erasers, pens, or chalk

    • Collaboration possible

    • Some content more easily created

    • Content can be archived and broadcast

    • Discipline-specific tools emerging (e.g. Math Journal)

    • General tools already available (e.g. Outlook)

    • Tablet PC just as capable as any notebook, plus more

Questions ink

  • Grant possibilities?

  • Feel free to contact me if you have any questions:

    Kenrick Mock

    [email protected]


  • This presentation will be available at