Suggested Uses for Tablet PC's in Educaiton

TabletPC2Image via Wikipedia
Today's workshop focused on giving some basic training to teachers using a Tablet PC for the first time. During the 2-hour training, I helped teachers become familiar with their new machine (Lenovo X61t), offered some tips and minor tweaks, and we then explored some possibilities for using the Tablet in the classroom.

Inking on Microsoft Word Documents
This is easily the quickest way to get teachers to start integrating the Tablet into their classroom instruction. With the inking tools (added to the quick access toolbar), teachers can essentially replace the overhead projector. A blank Word document can be written on, edited, and saved with all ink preserved. Additionally, existing Word documents can be opened and inked on with ease. I often opened tests or quizzes with my Chemistry classes, inked the correct answers when reviewing, and then saved the document for access by future students or those who were absent.

Inking on Microsoft PowerPoint Presentations
For those that use PowerPoint to give slide shows, the Tablet PC can be used to provide a few additional features. First, similar to MS Word, users have access to the inking tools through the Review ribbon. This allows teachers to ink on slides during preparation. A laboratory equipment sketch, foreign language characters, or setting up a math problem are all examples of how inking can help prepare slides in advance. When presenting the slides, users can also access inking tools through buttons found on the lower left. What this allows teachers to do is to add ink, drawings, or solutions to problems during a slide show. Teachers can also give the Tablet to the student to ink on during the presentation, thus allowing for more student interaction.

"If you can print it, you can ink on it.": Microsoft OneNote
This is the slogan that I use when initially promoting MS OneNote. PDF's are commonly found on the Internet, and they are the format that our copy machine chooses to scan hard copies. Thus, while one cannot ink on a PDF directly, by printing the PDF into MS OneNote, teachers can then have access to the built-in inking tools. The same applies to anything users can print. This includes photos, maps, and scans. In a future post, we'll dive deeper into MS OneNote and how the application can best be used to help with a teacher's organization.  
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