Monday, December 8, 2008

TIES 2008: Teaching with Tablets

The first breakout session I attended was on Teaching with Tablet PC's, by Tami Brass from the St. Paul Academy and Summit School.

The Toshiba M700 is what they use for staff and students. The school has been using tablets w/teachers for 4 years. They use carts for grade 6, piloting for students at grade 7, and at grade 8 and up have traditional PC's.

She used "One Note" to ink on the screen. It is part of the Office 2007 suite, or for roughly $15 per machine individually.

The reasons for tablets:
  • A Whiteboard in your briefcase
  • Inking Office and printable documents
  • Reduce printing and paper use.
  • Take advantage of specialized applications and features.
She demonstrated presentations, music, flash cards with "Ink Flashcards", Scratch, Sketch-Up, Art Rage for science projects, Snip for screen capture, and Inspiration.

With all staff and students on tablets, they have been able to go paperless, and by using One Note, they stay organized and don't lose homework. The kids create notebooks on the server, and a cached copy stays on the computer. Teachers and students can then sync at school and teachers can see student work. Things like assignment sheets, Class Notes, Practice, Handouts and Homework reside in the class notebook. Students ink in the notebook and teachers can color code in red to mark the papers.

With student's handwriting on the tablet, they have noticed that kids are more careful with their writing. Using the stylus, you can highlight sections of the notebook and link.

You can also create your own "handwriting fonts". Research says that kids get more out of lessons from teachers if it's handwritten.

On her conference wiki, you can view more resources for different curricular areas.

She did mention that she used to work at Cincinatti Country Day School, where they had a one to one program with tablets for kids k-12.

She finished by demonstrating the new tablet coming out in January based on the Intel Classmate, it will have a built in Webcam and video input/output. They will retail below $500, depending on the opporating system. Equus Computer Systems is Intel's partner in this venture.
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