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Tablet PCs: Expensive Gizzmos or valuable tools? - Staff experiences. Chris Beaumont Deputy Director, Write Now CETL Images from http://www.tatung.co.uk/mob_features_ttaba12d.htm E-Grant project Aims

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tablet pcs expensive gizzmos or valuable tools staff experiences
Tablet PCs: Expensive Gizzmos or valuable tools?

- Staff experiences.

Chris Beaumont

Deputy Director, Write Now CETL

Images from http://www.tatung.co.uk/mob_features_ttaba12d.htm

http://www.writenow.ac.uk

e grant project
E-Grant project

Aims

  • To identify and evaluate if/how tablet pc’s can be integrated into learning and teaching particularly integrating with e-learning using the VLE.
  • To evaluate any new opportunities afforded by these devices.

Method

  • Small-scale qualitative approach (interviews)
  • 6 members of staff (Business, Computing, Geography and Sport)
  • Prerequisite: Some use of e-learning, but mixed experience from novice to expert.
  • Academic year 2006/7
  • Initial training (20-30 mins)
  • Wireless Router provided if requied

2

tablet pc features
Tablet PC Features

Portability / Mobility

  • Light and small : 1.4Kg (3.08lbs) / A4 size
  • Long life battery (6 hrs)
  • WiFi incorporated (802.11a/b/g)
  • Slate type (detachable k/b) or Laptop-type
  • External DVD/CD drive.

3

tablet pc features4
Tablet PC Features

Unique Applications

  • Designed for stylus with handwritten input
  • Windows Tablet Edition provides input
    • Sticky notes
    • MS Journal
    • Character recognition
    • Handwritten Ink annotation in MS applications (Word/PPT)
    • Right click with pen (hold down)

4

what applications were used
What applications were used?
  • Sticky notes
    • 75% never used
  • MS Journal
    • 75% frequently/ sometimes used
  • Character recognition
    • 40% never / 60% sometimes / 20% frequently
  • Handwritten Ink annotation in MS applications (Word/PPT)
    • Most frequent use.

5

what uses so far
What uses so far?
  • Marking
    • Changed electronic marking from lots of comments at end of work to in-script comments. Students see exactly what comment relates to.
    • ‘closing the electronic marking loop’ – avoids printout and the ‘disaster’ of on-screen conventional marking.
  • Meetings
    • No or reduced paper needed.
    • Annotate papers / Highlighting
    • MS Journal for notes
  • Presentations/ teaching
    • Replace Laptop
  • Relaxing
    • Online shopping
    • Games

6

use in marking
Use in marking
  • Collect assignments from LearnWise to Pen Drive/ Load to Tablet/ Mark (handwritten annotation) / Return via Email
    • Mark away from desk – less distractions
    • No significant difference in speed of marking cf pen and paper. (on-screen marking with typed track changes is much slower than handwritten on paper)
    • Automatic archiving,
    • ‘Closing the loop’
      • No printing: saves paper.
    • Able to erase comments.
    • Easy use of colour
    • Quicker to return

Image from Microsoft.com

7

where were they used
Where were they used?
  • Home (most used wireless internet)
  • University Flat
  • University
  • Conferences (UK, European mainland)
  • Train
  • Airports

Lack of Wireless LAN at Hope was a frustration and reduced potential

8

ease of use
Ease of Use

“Surprised how easy it was”

Character recognition could be better

“My eight-year old daughter picked it up easily”

9

reported benefits
Reported Benefits

“I could mark not sat at my desk… in my preferred way … with my feet up”

  • Mobility
    • Lightness makes it more convenient to use than laptop. More likely to use.
    • Mobility – can work where you want.
    • Can adapt to your style of working – more pleasurable.
    • Can save paper (meetings etc)
  • Handwritten input
    • Helps avoid storage of marked work.
    • Personalised comments.

10

issues
Issues
  • Infrastructure
    • Lack of WLAN at University
  • Usability/ Functionality
    • Character recognition found to be “load of rubbish” by one user.
    • Setup problems (WiFi encryption install instructions) WiFi at home and beyond.
    • Robustness of the keyboard / angle of view.
    • Right click mouse inconvenient.
    • Stylus Tether.
  • Compatibility
    • Open Office compatibility / need for Word Viewer (4-5 initially 1/50 later)
  • Can’t keep it!

11

other findings
Other findings
  • Generate lots of interest from other staff.
  • Complements other tools.
  • Some use the tablet in very focussed way.
  • Changing the way we work- Futures?
    • Expressed views that this is the start, would like to explore changes to teaching, working, apps change from paper based journal. Research field notes.
    • Would like to use it for ad-hoc notes / reflections (respondent did not see teaching as separate from rest of usage)
    • On-line browsing of asynchronous forum contributions around the campus

12

conclusion
Conclusion?
  • Universal approval of benefits for marking.
  • Enabling technology
    • Working in a way that’s best for you.
    • Real benefits.
  • Caveat
    • Very small sample

14