Excerpted from
Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
Edited by Mike van Mantgem
With contributions by Dave Berque, Edward J. Evans, Tracy Hammond,
Kenrick Mock, Mark Payton, and David S. Sweeney
Despite the many advantages of computer-aided instruction, standard notebook
computers are restricted by their keyboard and mouse inputs. Not so with tablet
PCs. Using the tablet PC—basically a notebook computer with an interactive
screen—teachers and students can write, draw, and sketch directly onto any
computer document, in real time, and at a fraction of the cost of hard copy
documents.
Teachers can transmit lessons to student computers for their annotation. Students
can respond in their own hand. A math teacher can show how a function changes
over time. A Japanese language teacher can demonstrate the sequence of strokes
to draw a character. Students can go home after school, go online, and review both
lessons as they happened.
Copyright 2008, ISTE ® (International Society for Technology in Education), Tablet PCs in K-12 Education, Edited by Mike van Mantgem.
1.800.336.5191 or 1.541.302.3777 (Int’l), iste@iste.org, www.iste.org. All rights reserved. Distribution and copying of this excerpt is allowed for educational purposes and use with full attribution to ISTE.
Introduction
David S. Sweeney
Director for Information Technology
Division of Student Affairs
Texas A&M University
T
his book is a practical guide for educators to use tablet PCs to instruct,
communicate, and collaborate in the classroom. Throughout, you’ll find
examples and case studies taken from real teachers in real classrooms. Theory
and research are included at the end of most chapters, for those of you who may
be interested in these topics. However, the primary focus of this book is on the
practical use of tablet PCs in the classroom.
We have assembled a team of knowledgeable contributors, many of whom are
associated with the Workshop on the Impact of Pen-Based Technology on
Education (WIPTE) and are, quite frankly, leading the dialog on the use of
tablet PCs in education.
In Part I, you will be introduced to the tablet PC as a communication and
computing platform. These chapters will describe some of the more common
software applications used with tablets. Here, you will also find real-world
examples of tablet PC use, key resources, and a glossary of this book’s computing
terms.
Part II moves from information about tablet PC computing and into educational
applications. In these chapters you will see just how the tablet PC can improve
personal productivity for both you and your students; how to use the tablet PC in
single-user (that is, non-collaborative) settings; just how the tablet PC can revolutionize collaborative, 1-to-1 learning environments; and finally, how to implement
tablet PCs in your organization. All told, Part II should prove invaluable for
educators, administrators, and technical support personnel as they consider how
to deploy tablet PCs in a classroom, across a school, or throughout a district.
Part III utilizes the knowledge presented in the previous two sections by offering
real-world lesson plans optimized for the tablet PC.
Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
1
Introduction
|
I’ve been humbled to work with our contributing team during the course
of writing this book. I would like to personally thank Kenrick Mock, Tracy
Hammond, Mark Payton, Dave Berque, and Ed Evans for their contributions. Thanks also to Craig Colgan for his consultations. Mark Andrews at the
International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) was especially helpful.
Our editor, Mike van Mantgem, who kept us on track, deserves many kudos.
Having cold-called many of these fine professionals to collaborate on this book,
I’m deeply gratified by their willingness to contribute, and I hope to work with
them again.
Thank you.
How to Use this Book
The goal of this book is simple: To provide educators with a hands-on look at the
tablet PC and to show them how to best utilize this technology in the classroom.
Neither educators nor their students need to be technophiles to benefit from the
information this book offers. To get the most out of this book:
•
•
•
•
2
Part I. Consult the “Glossary of Terms” and the other information in
chapter 1 to get acquainted with some tablet PC basics. If you are new to
tablet PCs, you won’t believe what you’ll find.
Part II. Discover the ways in which the tablet PC can increase your own
personal productivity and improve the classroom experience for you and
your students. The ideas in this section come from the world’s leading tablet
PC thinkers in education.
Part III. Explore the lesson plans. Straightforward and easy to read, these
content- and grade-specific lessons are designed for you to use and modify
in your own classrooms. (See Lesson Plans: At a Glance on page 3.)
Peruse the examples found in “Tablet PCs in the Real World” boxes
throughout the book. You’ll find the stories of other educators who have
found a place for tablet PC technology in their own classrooms. Where they
have gone, you can go, too. (See Tablet PCs in the Real World: At a Glance
on page 4.)
Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
|
Introduction
Lesson Plans: At a Glance
Special Education
•
Adding and Subtracting Fractions (Mathematics; features extensions for
K–2 and 3–6)
Students map out the steps necessary for adding and subtracting fractions
with uncommon denominators and then simplify the answer. Tablet PCs
or PDAs are used to map out the solution with concept-mapping software.
Lesson adaptations show how to use this strategy to teach other math
concepts.
Grades K–2
•
Animals of North America (Science, Mathematics)
Becoming virtual zoologists, students research, collect, and report data on
the various animals of Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Students
work independently or in groups to create a multimedia PowerPoint presentation on a North American animal.
•
Brrr, It’s Alive (English Language Arts)
Students write a riddle that gives clues about a cold-weather animal. Other
students try to guess the animal’s identity. The information gathered to
create the riddle forms the foundation for writing a report about coldweather animals.
Grades 3–5
•
Exploring Wetlands (Science)
Students see videos of marsh and wetland areas and locate these areas on
Google Earth. Then students research a wetland animal and create a riddle
about the animal in PowerPoint. These riddles are posted to the school’s
wetlands Web site for other students to read.
•
Fairytales Compare and Contrast (English Language Arts)
In a teacher-led demonstration, students differentiate story aspects of
two versions of Hansel and Gretel, told from two different points of view.
Independently, students read similar stories and compare and contrast
fairytale characteristics using concept-mapping software.
Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
3
Introduction
|
Grades 6–8
•
The Scientific Method (Science)
After studying the scientific method, students go through the process of
developing a hypothesis, performing an experiment, showing findings, and
analyzing results.
•
Birthstone Project (English Language Arts, Science)
This lesson is an interdisciplinary project for an English/language arts
teacher, an earth science teacher, and a technology teacher. Students learn
about their birthstones—and minerals in general—through online research,
writing, and development of an electronic presentation.
Grades 9–12
•
Habitat Investigation (Science)
Using a custom-created Web site and supporting materials, students
learn about a natural habitat in their community, including the geology,
topography, plants, animals, and human activities.
•
Lining Up Data (Mathematics)
Students make predictions based on real-world data. Students use the tablet
PC to plot data and draw lines that fit the data they have graphed. They
then use these lines to make predictions that extrapolate or interpolate the
data. Students conduct additional research to find appropriate data sets,
develop questions, and answer questions developed by other students.
Tablet PCs in the Real World: At a Glance
This book contains many illustrations and real-world examples of tablet PCs
and their use in the classroom. Below is a quick index of where you’ll find these
powerful stories.
Personal Computing Made Personal. It’s not so much a matter of what a tablet PC
can do, but what a tablet PC is. Page 37.
Taking Notes: A Small Demonstration. A single demonstration was all it took for
one educator to implement a tablet PC pilot program. Page 63.
4
Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
|
Introduction
Vermont Academy: The Personal Productivity of Students. Students at a small,
rural independent boarding and day school use tablet PCs to increase their
productivity. Page 81.
Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind: Using Technology to Improve
Student Learning and Build a Professional Learning Community. Educators use
digital photography and tablet PCs to both aid in student learning and to better
understand the learning process of their students. Page 83.
Ferryway School: Using 21st-Century Technology to Study the Technological
Needs of Colonists in the New World. Students use modern technology to learn
about the uses of technology at a colonial ironworks. Page 91.
St. Martin’s Episcopal School: Teaching 11th- and 12th-Grade Pre-Calculus,
Calculus, and Trigonometry. A Louisiana high school math instructor creates
innovative video recordings of lectures. Page 99.
Goldenview Middle School: Teaching Eighth-grade Algebra and Pre-Algebra. An
Alaska math instructor uses a tablet PC to post lecture notes and assignments
online. Page 102.
DyKnow Vision in Action. An illustration of how a classroom teacher promotes
in-class collaboration while teaching a basic math problem. Page 125.
Bishop Hartley High School: Partnering with Higher Education to Assess a 1-to-1
Tablet Deployment. One private school and a neighboring state university work
together to bring tablet PCs into the classroom. Page 129.
Auburn City Schools: A Model Faculty Development Program in the Context of a
1-to-1 Tablet Deployment. A thoughtful approach to deploying a 1-to-1 tablet PC
program generates a solid buy-in from teachers and enhances student engagement.
Page 131.
Memorial Middle School: Quality Counts—Partnership with HP. Classroom
teachers describe the extent that quality matters when a school chooses its technology partner. Page 141.
Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
5
Part I
The Tablet PC Revealed
In this Section
•
From Convertibles to Slates: More than a Notebook
Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about tablet PCs and
pen-based technology is here, including a Glossary of Terms.
Chapter 1
•
Simpler Is Better: Breaking the Keyboard Paradigm
The tablet PC is the natural result of a convergence of both old and
new technologies. But what exactly is a tablet PC, and how does it fit
into the world of education and the world at large?
Chapter 2
•
Key Resources
Easy reference access to the many resources mentioned in this book.
Chapter 3
The tablet PC is unlike any other computing device that has come before
it. A tablet PC combines the computing power and versatility of a traditional notebook computer with the portability, inking ability, and ease of
use offered by a pad of paper. It is small enough to carry anywhere, yet
large enough to replace a desktop computer, filing cabinet, and a small
library, essentially allowing a user to take the classroom on the road.
But what exactly is a tablet PC? What exactly does it allow users to do?
Moreover, how does this technology fit into an educational setting?
Answers to these questions, and more, are here.
Copyright 2008, ISTE ® (International Society for Technology in Education), Tablet PCs in K-12 Education, Edited by Mike van Mantgem.
1.800.336.5191 or 1.541.302.3777 (Int’l), iste@iste.org, www.iste.org. All rights reserved. Distribution and copying of this excerpt is allowed for educational purposes and use with full attribution to ISTE.
1
From
Convertibles to Slates
More than a Notebook
Kenrick Mock
Associate Professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences
University of Alaska, Anchorage
Tracy Hammond
Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science
Texas A&M University
With contributions from:
Mike van Mantgem
Editor, ISTE
What Is a Tablet PC?
I
n general terms, a tablet PC is a notebook computer
with a display screen on which users can “write.” The
computer’s operating system allows digital “ink” to be
written or drawn on the computer screen by using a
special pen. This process is called “digital inking,” and
hand-drawn items can be saved like any other computer
document. Handwritten text can also be saved “as
written,” or it can be translated into typed text.
Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
9
Copyright 2008, ISTE ® (International Society for Technology in Education), Tablet PCs in K-12 Education, Edited by Mike van Mantgem.
1.800.336.5191 or 1.541.302.3777 (Int’l), iste@iste.org, www.iste.org. All rights reserved. Distribution and copying of this excerpt is allowed for educational purposes and use with full attribution to ISTE.
Part I
|
The Tablet PC Revealed
Figure 1.1.
|
The tablet PC
Microsoft Tablet PC
The term “tablet PC” was
coined by Microsoft when
it released its Windows XP
Tablet PC operating system.
Consequently, an official
Microsoft Tablet PC is essentially a notebook computer
with a touch- or pen-enabled
screen (digitizer) running
Windows XP Tablet PC Edition
or Windows Vista.
10
Since digital inking is added to the
normal functionality of a personal
computer, applications that run on a
personal computer (such as Word or
PowerPoint) also run on a tablet PC.
At the time of this writing, Microsoft
Windows devices dominate the market
for tablet PCs. The technology has
also matured since its introduction,
as many tablet PC models are now
entering their fourth or fifth generation. According to TabletPCReview.
com, there are currently more than 20
manufacturers of tablet PCs encompassing more than 50 different models
(TabletPCReview, 2007).
Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
Copyright 2008, ISTE ® (International Society for Technology in Education), Tablet PCs in K-12 Education, Edited by Mike van Mantgem.
1.800.336.5191 or 1.541.302.3777 (Int’l), iste@iste.org, www.iste.org. All rights reserved. Distribution and copying of this excerpt is allowed for educational purposes and use with full attribution to ISTE.
From Convertibles to Slates
|
Chapter 1
From Punch Cards to Digital Ink
A Brief History of the Tablet PC
In 1968 the UNIVAC 9200 computer ran on punch cards, had a memory of
16,386 bytes, and cost $1,000 per month to rent. Despite the prevalence of
these room-sized mainframes, in 1968 computer scientist Alan Kay envisioned
a computer that could be used effortlessly by untrained users. He proposed a
device called the Dynabook, which was lightweight, could communicate wirelessly, and could electronically store notes written with a pen. His vision was
partially fulfilled by many devices built in the 1980s and ’90s, including the
Apple Newton and the Personal Digital Assistant (Meyer, 1995). Kay’s vision
was fully realized with the introduction of the tablet PC in 2002.
Why Use a Tablet PC in the Classroom?
If using notebook computers in a classroom is a good practice, then employing
tablet PCs represents a revolution.
Despite the many advantages of computer-aided instruction, so-called normal
notebook computers are restricted by their keyboard/mouse inputs. A keyboard
has its limits, and a mouse is very difficult to use for sketching—it does not have
the natural feel of a pen, nor does it provide a pen’s accuracy.
Because students and teachers alike can write, draw, and sketch with freedom
directly into a tablet PC, they can:
•
•
Tap directly into their creative brainstorming thought-processes;
•
Easily share their creations with others in real time, using a variety of applications (described at the end of this chapter).
Simulate, correct, and perform sophisticated editing commands with the
ease of a pen-stroke; and
Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
11
Copyright 2008, ISTE ® (International Society for Technology in Education), Tablet PCs in K-12 Education, Edited by Mike van Mantgem.
1.800.336.5191 or 1.541.302.3777 (Int’l), iste@iste.org, www.iste.org. All rights reserved. Distribution and copying of this excerpt is allowed for educational purposes and use with full attribution to ISTE.
Part I
|
The Tablet PC Revealed
Tablet PCs place these technologies into the hands of students, creating a more
effective active learning environment. If the traditional computer allows for a
functional understanding of instructional material to students, then it follows
that the natural feel of a pen-input interface can actually encourage creativity. The
tablet PC thus allows students to work seamlessly between two different types of
pedagogical visualizations (Hammond, 2007a).
Glossary of Terms
What follows are essential tablet PC computing terms. Familiarity with these
terms will greatly enhance your ability to think about, talk about, and teach about
tablet PCs.
Tablet-Specific Terms
Notebook Computer. Also known as a laptop computer, a notebook computer is a
computer designed primarily for portability.
Tablet PC. A notebook computer that allows users to input information on a
digitizer with a pen, or stylus.
Display. In this context, a screen that shows a computer’s output information.
Digitizer. The technology located in a tablet PC’s display (screen) that allows it to
determine the location of a device writing on the display. A passive digitizer uses
touch (a touch-screen). An active digitizer detects electromagnetic signals from
a special pen. A hybrid digitizer combines the passive digitizer’s convenience of
touch with the active digitizer’s superior handwriting-recognition capabilities.
Pen. Resembling a traditional ink pen, a Pen is a specialized input device that
allows users to write directly on the screen (digitizer) of a tablet PC.
Stylus. A stylus is a type of pen that typically does not “ink” a tablet PC’s screen.
Rather, a stylus is used in place of a finger to interact with a touch-screen.
Digital Ink; Ink. Data put directly onto the tablet PC’s digitizer. The process of
inputting data in this manner is called “digital inking.”
Pen Flicks. Gestures that users make with their tablet PC pens to perform quick
navigation tasks (drag up, drag down, move back, etc.) and utilize shortcuts (copy,
paste, undo, etc.). Using macros, a single pen flick can be made to perform a
customized sequence of computing functions.
12
Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
Copyright 2008, ISTE ® (International Society for Technology in Education), Tablet PCs in K-12 Education, Edited by Mike van Mantgem.
1.800.336.5191 or 1.541.302.3777 (Int’l), iste@iste.org, www.iste.org. All rights reserved. Distribution and copying of this excerpt is allowed for educational purposes and use with full attribution to ISTE.
From Convertibles to Slates
Putting It Together
Since a Tablet PC is essentially
a special type of notebook
computer, it shares the same
hardware features as a typical
notebook computer with the
exception of the digitizer that
enables pen input.
|
Chapter 1
Macros. A computing rule or pattern
that specifies how a certain input
sequence should be mapped to an
output sequence.
TIP. Short for Tablet Input Panel. A
Windows control that translates the
user’s ink strokes into typed text.
Lasso. A drawing tool that allows users
to draw a freehand perimeter around
a section of the screen; then, to select
and manipulate that portion.
Vectoring. An occurrence of when a user’s palm touches the screen of a tablet PC
and triggers an unintended “click.”
Hardware Terms
Form Factor. This term refers to the overall design of something. In the case of a
tablet PC, the two most common form factors are the slate and the convertible.
Slate. The slate form of a tablet PC resembles a large PDA, or writing “slate.” This
form of a tablet PC does not have an attached keyboard.
Convertible. The convertible form of a tablet PC resembles a traditional notebook
computer, except that its screen can twist and rotate such that the display is facing
out when it’s folded down over the keyboard.
Multi-Touch PC. A computer that allows multiple users to simultaneously manipulate objects on the screen by touch.
Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC). An Ultra Mobile PC, or UMPC, is a small-form tablet
PC that is designed to fit into pockets or small bags.
Personal Digital Assistant (PDA). A PDA is a hand-held device that is used to
organize personal data. PDAs typically include some computer functionality and
can have multimedia capabilities. As of this writing, Apple’s iPhone is the latest
showcase of PDA technology.
USB-Connected Pen Tablets. Light and portable tablets that allow pen-tocomputer input, but do not provide display capabilities.
Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
13
Copyright 2008, ISTE ® (International Society for Technology in Education), Tablet PCs in K-12 Education, Edited by Mike van Mantgem.
1.800.336.5191 or 1.541.302.3777 (Int’l), iste@iste.org, www.iste.org. All rights reserved. Distribution and copying of this excerpt is allowed for educational purposes and use with full attribution to ISTE.
Part I
|
The Tablet PC Revealed
Interactive Whiteboard. A touch-sensitive screen technology that allows users
to manipulate data directly on a digital display. In a classroom setting, an inter­
active whiteboard can take the form of a touch-sensitive large screen display that
connects to a computer and digital projector. Users can control computer applications directly from the projected display, write notes in digital ink, and save their
work.
Configuration. This term describes the summation of the devices associated with
(and/or connected to) a given PC. Typically, these items include the computer
(meaning, the internal hardware that comprises the computer), monitor, keyboard,
printer, and so on.
CPU. Central Processing Unit. The brain of a personal computer.
RAM. Random Access Memory. This memory type allows computers to load and
run programs or otherwise use data on a temporary basis. As a general rule, the
more RAM a computer has, the more quickly it can process information.
x86-Compatible. This term refers to the compatibility among types and brands of
computer microprocessors with the family of Intel microprocessors (e.g., Intel 486,
Pentium, Intel 8086, etc.).
Putting It Together
A common convertible
tablet PC configuration today
might include 1 GB of RAM, a
100-GB hard disk, a DVD/CD
drive, assorted ports, and an
x86-compatible CPU running
Windows Vista.
Bit. The fundamental unit of
computing information. A bit has only
one of two values, either the binary
digit 0 or 1.
Byte. A sequence of 8 bits, combined
into a single unit of information.
Gigabyte; GB. 1 billion bytes. Used as
a measure of data storage capacity or
computer memory capacity.
Hard Disk. A rigid magnetic disk used
for storing computer data. Also called a
hard drive.
DVD/CD Drive. A device that reads (and writes to) both high-density compact
discs (DVDs) and compact discs (CDs). When this device is built into a computer, it
is often called an integrated optical drive.
14
Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
Copyright 2008, ISTE ® (International Society for Technology in Education), Tablet PCs in K-12 Education, Edited by Mike van Mantgem.
1.800.336.5191 or 1.541.302.3777 (Int’l), iste@iste.org, www.iste.org. All rights reserved. Distribution and copying of this excerpt is allowed for educational purposes and use with full attribution to ISTE.
From Convertibles to Slates
|
Chapter 1
Port. A distinct connection area on a computer that allows other devices to
attach to, and communicate with, that computer. A USB (universal serial bus) is
a type of port.
Operating System. Often referred to as an “O-S,” this is the software that runs a
computer. Popular PC operating systems include Windows (XP, Vista, etc.), Linux,
and Mac OS (8, X, etc.).
Communications Terms
802.11. A set of standards for wireless local area network (WLAN) computer
communication. As of this writing, 802.11n is the latest standard on the market.
Bluetooth. A short-range radio frequency standard that allows wireless communication among devices such as computers, cell phones, printers, digital cameras,
and the like.
Cellular Networks. An interconnected system of mobile telephone transmitters.
Each transmitter covers a distinct geographical area, or cell.
Client. A piece of software that resides on a user’s computer (a client). This software
accesses services from another piece of software on another computer (a server).
EV-DO. Evolution-Data Optimized. A telecommunications standard for transmitting data through radio signals.
IM. Short for Instant Messaging, a real-time communication software that allows
two or more users to exchange typed text. The text is conveyed via computers
connected over a network.
Internet. Small computer networks that link together to form a larger computer
network. The Internet is the largest network.
LAN. Local Area Network. A communications network that covers a small area
(e.g., a school building, a coffee shop, or an individual home).
Network. An interconnected system of computing devices. These devices transmit
and receive data to and from each other.
Skype. An Internet telecommunications software, Skype allows users to make telephone calls from their computer to other computers, landlines, and cell phones.
Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
15
Copyright 2008, ISTE ® (International Society for Technology in Education), Tablet PCs in K-12 Education, Edited by Mike van Mantgem.
1.800.336.5191 or 1.541.302.3777 (Int’l), iste@iste.org, www.iste.org. All rights reserved. Distribution and copying of this excerpt is allowed for educational purposes and use with full attribution to ISTE.
Part I
|
The Tablet PC Revealed
Putting It Together
With an emphasis on
mobility, virtually all tablet
PCs include support for wireless networking. More recent
devices include support for
wireless WAN over cellular
networks, making it possible
to access the Internet in
any location where there is
already cell phone coverage.
WAN. Wide Area Network. A communications network that covers a large
geographic area.
WiMAX. Worldwide Interoperability
for Microwave Access. A technology
designed to provide wireless data transmission across long distances.
Wireless Network. A computer network
where devices transmit and receive
data without any physical connection
between sender or receiver.
The Tablet PC:
A Machine for Every Occasion
It is no accident that tablet PCs are not created equal. The dynamic nature of the
technology behind these machines allows for a variety of uses that, in turn, meet
an even wider variety of needs. The more you know about tablet PCs, the more
informed you will be when thinking about and using tablet PCs in a classroom
setting.
Passive Digitizers
To use a passive digitizer, one simply touches a PC’s screen with a finger or stylus.
This is the equivalent of a mouse click at the pressed location. An advantage of the
passive digitizer is the ability to use one’s finger or any stylus to interact with the
device. A special pen is not required.
This form of interaction is particularly useful for screen navigation—it is more
convenient and often feels more natural to “click” a button or scroll down by
simply touching the screen or moving your finger, versus getting out a stylus and
tapping the screen.
However, the convenience of a passive digitizer has several drawbacks:
•
16
Writing on a passive digitizer can result in an effect called vectoring, which
occurs when a touch on the screen triggers an unintended “click.”
Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
Copyright 2008, ISTE ® (International Society for Technology in Education), Tablet PCs in K-12 Education, Edited by Mike van Mantgem.
1.800.336.5191 or 1.541.302.3777 (Int’l), iste@iste.org, www.iste.org. All rights reserved. Distribution and copying of this excerpt is allowed for educational purposes and use with full attribution to ISTE.
From Convertibles to Slates
|
Chapter 1
•
The computer has no way to tell where the pen is located unless the pen
touches the screen. When a pen is used for navigation, the result is a mouse
cursor that jumps from touch-point to touch-point. This effect can make a
presentation difficult to follow.
•
Since a “click” is the only input (and is mapped to a tap), secondary functions such as right-clicking are more difficult to perform. Microsoft’s
operating system, for example, requires a user to tap-and-hold the stylus for
right-click options.
•
The resolution and accuracy of a passive digitizer is usually lower than that
of an active digitizer. As a result, handwriting with a passive digitizer may
appear “blocky” and “erratic” instead of smooth and free-flowing.
Active Digitizers
Most tablet PCs incorporate an active digitizer. This technology requires a special
stylus to write on the display. The digitizer emits an electromagnetic signal from
the display that is reflected by the stylus. The reflection is then used to determine the precise location of the stylus. This technology eliminates the vectoring
problem, since touch is not used at all to determine the pen’s location. In addition,
the distance of the pen from the display can be tracked. This precise tracking
allows for a “hover” mode in which the pen controls the cursor, but a click does
not occur unless the pen makes contact with the display.
Digitizers
in the Real World
The Wacom digitizer is the
most common form of an
active digitizer. If you have ever
used a digital pen and pad to
sign your name when making a
credit card purchase, you are
already familiar with how this
technology works in the real
world.
Using an active digitizer and a pen is
similar to using a traditional mouse.
The pen tip is easy to track while
writing. Likewise, when giving a
presentation, an audience can follow
the pointer with ease.
Other advantages of an active over a
passive digitizer include more nuanced
pressure sensitivity (e.g., pushing
the pen harder results in a thicker
or darker line), superior precision,
smoother ink, side buttons for more
right-clicking options, and—using the
top of the pen—a digital eraser.
Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
17
Copyright 2008, ISTE ® (International Society for Technology in Education), Tablet PCs in K-12 Education, Edited by Mike van Mantgem.
1.800.336.5191 or 1.541.302.3777 (Int’l), iste@iste.org, www.iste.org. All rights reserved. Distribution and copying of this excerpt is allowed for educational purposes and use with full attribution to ISTE.
Part I
|
The Tablet PC Revealed
The main disadvantage of the active digitizer is its reliance on a special pen. If
the pen is lost, then the tablet’s functionality becomes inaccessible. Additionally,
active digitizers tend to be inaccurate near the borders of the display. Periodic
calibration is also necessary to accurately track the pen’s location.
Hybrid Digitizers
The hybrid digitizer combines the passive digitizer’s convenience of touch with the
active digitizer’s superior handwriting capabilities—an all-in-one device. A button
or switch on the computer enables the user to select which digitizer is preferred.
Alternately, the computer has the option to sense if the active digitizer’s pen is
near the surface of the display, in which case the active digitizer is enabled and
the passive digitizer is disabled. When the pen is not detected near the surface, the
passive digitizer is enabled and the active digitizer is disabled.
Forms of Tablet PCs
The type of digitizer is an important consideration for tablet PC use in the
classroom. An equally important consideration is the form of the computer itself.
The two most common forms of tablet PCs are slate and convertible. The different
design styles of tablet PCs are often referred to as form factors.
Slate
The slate tablet PC resembles a large PDA or writing “slate.” This form does not
have an attached keyboard. These systems are designed for mobility, and the exclusion of a keyboard reduces the size and weight of the device. For these reasons,
slates typically exclude integrated optical drives. Slates also come in a variety of
sizes with diagonal screen measurements ranging from approximately 8 to 15
inches, with most slates in the 10- to 12-inch range.
For extended use at a desk, slates can be docked to a traditional monitor,
keyboard, and base station. Slates have grown in popularity in a number of vertical
applications, such as field sales, field service, and health care. For outdoor use in
the field, slates are also available in a “ruggedized” package. These systems are
designed to withstand impacts, drops, wet conditions, and extreme temperature
ranges. They also have a screen that is viewable in direct sunlight. (Most tablet
displays are designed only for indoor viewing.) The degree of ruggedness is usually
reported in terms of military standards. For example, MIL-STD 810 requires the
device to withstand repeated three-foot drops onto plywood over concrete and
18
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From Convertibles to Slates
|
Chapter 1
function in wind-blown rain, with a rain rate of four inches per hour. Rugged
slates are generally larger, heavier, and more expensive than slates designed for
indoor use.
Figure 1.2.
|
A ruggedized slate tablet PC
Convertible
The convertible tablet PC resembles a traditional notebook computer. However, its
screen can twist and rotate so that the display can fold down over the keyboard,
facing out. A convertible is a best-of-both-worlds computer—it is a traditional
notebook computer that can be folded to create a slate-like tablet PC.
By definition, a convertible must include an attached keyboard. However, some
systems feature a detachable keyboard that enables the machine to convert into a
true slate.
Convertible tablet PCs range in size from 9 to 15 inches, measured diagonally
across the screen, with most devices in the 12- to 14-inch range. To reduce weight
and increase portability, many convertibles also exclude integrated optical drives.
Computer manufacturers are currently producing more convertibles than slates.
In 2007, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, and Toshiba produced only convertibles, while
Fujitsu and smaller manufacturers such as Motion Computing and TabletKiosk
produced slates.
Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
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Copyright 2008, ISTE ® (International Society for Technology in Education), Tablet PCs in K-12 Education, Edited by Mike van Mantgem.
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Part I
|
The Tablet PC Revealed
Figure 1.3.
|
A convertible tablet PC
UMPC—Ultra Mobile PC
An Ultra Mobile PC, or UMPC, is a small tablet PC designed to fit into pockets
or small bags. Previously known at Microsoft as the Origami Project, UMPCs
range in size from a notepad to a paperback book. They generally have touchor pen-enabled screens that are 7 inches or smaller. The smallest devices have
approximately 5-inch screens and weigh around one pound. Some UMPCs are
slates while others feature small keyboards intended for thumb typing.
UMPCs versus PDAs
UMPCs are not the same as Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs). PDAs
typically run an operating system that is different from that of a desktop
computer. Likewise, the applications each uses are usually incompatible.
Even so, data stored on a PDA can be synchronized with data on a desktop
computer. Popular touch screen PDAs today include the Palm line of handheld devices and Apple’s iPhone.
20
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From Convertibles to Slates
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Chapter 1
Like a normal tablet PC, a UMPC is a regular computer that can run the same
or similar software found on a full-sized notebook. However, UMPCs generally
feature slower processors than found on a larger tablet. Its small form factor also
eliminates features such as integrated optical drives and numerous ports.
Since UMPCs place a high emphasis on mobility, many of these devices include
built-in support for wireless WAN networking, such as WiMAX or third generation EV-DO cellular networks. Several new UMPC models are planned for release
in 2008 and Intel has announced plans to develop a chip specifically designed for
small devices (Tan, 2007).
Figure 1.4.
|
The iPAQ 111 Classic Handheld
is an example of a UMPC.
Other Input Devices
Tablet PC technology is not limited to notebook-style computers and handheld
devices. For schools and districts wanting to use digital inking technology, but
cannot replace their existing computers, many upgrade solutions already exist.
These solutions include devices that can be connected to standard PCs, thus transforming them into tablet PCs; as well as integrated projection systems that enable
teachers to present information while students, from their seats, interact with that
same information.
Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
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Part I
|
The Tablet PC Revealed
USB-Connected Pen Tablets
Pen tablets are light and portable tablets that allow pen input, but do not provide
display capabilities. The pen tablets connect to a regular laptop or PC using a USB
interface, providing tablet-like interaction while using a computer that does not
otherwise have this capability.
Its operation is simple: users write on the pad-like board at their side and watch
their input on a screen. The size of a pen tablet ranges from 4-by-5 inches to 12-by19 inches.
As of 2007, the most notable maker of pen tablets, Wacom, has two versions available: Intuos and Graphire. These devices are considerably cheaper than standard
tablet PCs and provide pen-input and pressure data.
Taking this idea in another direction, Smart Technologies created a wireless USB
pen tablet, called Airliner. Unlike the Wacom pen tablets, Airliner technology
allows multiple pen-tablet users to write, at the same time, onto a single interactive
whiteboard.
Larger Displays
Although the focus of this book is on tablet PCs, there are many instances in an
education environment when larger displays are useful. Larger displays are, of
course, less portable than their tablet PC counterparts, but they are beneficial in
three important circumstances:
•
Where tablet PCs remain fixed, such that they are shared among many
different classes and students;
•
•
Where the instructor wants to present materials to an entire class; and
Where the material presented requires a large drawing space and/or greater
visibility to the students.
Large Drawing Screens
A large drawing screen is ideal for school computer labs, and it can work nicely
as a second monitor in a dual-monitor setup. The screen can be rotated, inclined,
and/or removed for lap use.
For example, Wacom’s Cintiq 21UX drawing tablet provides a 21.3-inch high-resolution display, and it connects to any computer through a USB interface to provide
pen position, pressure, and tilt data.
22
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From Convertibles to Slates
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Chapter 1
Multi-Touch PCs
A multi-touch PC allows multiple users to simultaneously manipulate objects on
the screen by touch. An example of this technology is Microsoft Surface, which is a
tabletop PC that projects a computer image from below to the surface of the table.
Once gathered around the table, multiple users can write, gesture, and collaborate
on a project.
This technology can have collaborative and educational applications for small
groups of students. It is expected to be available near the end of 2007 for approximately $10,000. Multi-touch PCs are not currently available in smaller form
factors (such as a slate or convertible).
Interactive Whiteboards
Like an old school chalkboard or grease-pen whiteboard, an interactive whiteboard is a large display device. It is useful for instructors who wish to present
information to students as a class. Using an interactive whiteboard, the instructor
essentially projects a computer display from a PC to a large pen-input display.
One such display is the popular SMART Board. SMART Boards come in three
basic styles: front projection, rear projection, and overlay.
The whiteboard overlay sits on top of an LCD (liquid crystal display) panel and
provides a pen-enabled display of up to 60 inches. Because they function through
the use of an overlay, there is a gap (about one-inch) between the pen tip and the
pen mark.
Slightly less expensive than overlays, rear-projected whiteboard displays provide a
66-inch, pen-enabled screen with no gap between the pen tip and ink projection.
These whiteboards include an integrated projector and can be mobile or installed
in a permanent location.
As the least expensive version, front-projected SMART interactive whiteboards can
be used with existing computers and projectors. They also feature larger display
areas than the others.
SMART interactive whiteboard technology allows for the use of any writing
implement, including a finger. This technology also features special software that
utilizes the pen as either a mouse-input device or as a tool that can lay ink on top
of the viewed image—such that the input information is not relayed to the underlying applications.
Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
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Part I
|
The Tablet PC Revealed
Benefits of Using Interactive Whiteboards
Recent research on pen-based instruction shows that lessons taught with the
aid of interactive whiteboards provide three key benefits:
1. Brighter and clearer presentation of material.
2. Stepped learning and the ability to recall earlier material.
3. Rapid responses to interactive examples so that learning is
reinforced or revised.
(SMART Technologies, 2006; Glover 2005)
Other research has shown interactive whiteboards to:
students with many different learning styles, including
• Support
students with hearing and visual impairments.
•Raise the level of student engagement in a classroom.
• Streamline teacher preparation.
•Reduce start-up time for digitally-enhanced lessons.
• Motivate teachers to include digital resources.
(SMART Technologies, 2006)
SMART interactive whiteboards do not come without disadvantages. For example,
they currently do not relay pen pressure or tilt information to software applications, meaning they can only send simple mouse events. However, when students
are provided with pen tablets (such as the Airliner), chalkboard and overhead
displays pale by comparison in terms of their potential for student engagement.
Promethean, a popular interactive learning technology provider, offers another
interactive whiteboard system. Promethean Activboard, an interactive whiteboard, can be combined with a computer and Promethean Activote, a Personal
Response System (PRS). The PRS, a “clicker” that resembles a small remote
control, can be passed out to each student. The buttons on the PRS allow students
to answer multiple-choice or true-or-false questions. A question can be posed on
the computer, projected on the screen, and each student can answer via the PRS.
Statistics on how all students voted can be displayed back to the class. The data
24
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Copyright 2008, ISTE ® (International Society for Technology in Education), Tablet PCs in K-12 Education, Edited by Mike van Mantgem.
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From Convertibles to Slates
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Chapter 1
displayed to the class is anonymous, although the students’ names and a record of
how they voted is stored on the computer for later analysis by the teacher.
Tablet PC Software
Even though a tablet PC is essentially a notebook computer, it nonetheless requires
special software to run its pen-based functionality. This special software begins
with the computer’s operating system.
For a discussion of tablet PC software related to personal productivity, see the section “The Tablet PC: A Personal Productivity
Enhancement Tool” in chapter 4.
Microsoft Windows
Microsoft fully supports tablet PCs and has released the Windows XP Tablet
PC Edition and the Windows Vista operating systems. Both operating systems
feature handwriting recognition. However, handwriting recognition is improved
in Windows Vista, and only Windows Vista can learn to recognize an individual
user’s handwriting.
For a more detailed look at this software, see the section
“Software Features: The Power of the Pen” in chapter 4.
Linux
Many distributions of the Linux operating system can also be installed on a tablet
PC. However, users may be required to install additional drivers to support the
use of a pen and other hardware. Free and open source applications such as Jarnal
(www.dklevine.com/general/software/tc1000/jarnal.htm) are available for taking
notes and sketching.
Mac OS X
As of 2007, Apple Computer has not released a tablet Macintosh computer.
However, Axiotron and One World Computing have announced an after-market
Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
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Copyright 2008, ISTE ® (International Society for Technology in Education), Tablet PCs in K-12 Education, Edited by Mike van Mantgem.
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Part I
|
The Tablet PC Revealed
modification that converts a MacBook into a slate. Their solution, the Modbook,
replaces the normal display with a Wacom digitizer. It was expected to be available
in the second half of 2007.
Handwriting recognition on the Modbook is possible using Apple’s Inkwell technology. Originally intended for use with external graphics tablets, Inkwell works
equally well with an on-screen digitizer. This technology allows a user to write
anywhere on the screen. This writing is converted to text that is then inserted
into the active application. Inkwell is also able to process written commands and
includes an InkPad application that can be used to handwrite sketches or notes.
At the time of this writing, relatively few pen-enabled applications exist on the
Mac OS X platform, compared to the Windows platform.
Windows Applications
Many applications provide their own support for inking (beyond what is provided
by the operating system). For some of these applications there is no need to translate handwriting into text—the application can operate entirely in the domain of
the digital ink.
For more information about tablet PC software in a classroom
context, see chapter 4, “Personal Productivity for Classroom
Teachers.”
Microsoft Office
The Microsoft Office suite of products, starting with Office 2003, include builtin support for ink. With a tablet PC, a user can annotate Word files in ink. Users
can also write on PowerPoint slides in both the design and delivery phases of a
presentation.
Outlook
Although very usable on a tablet PC, Outlook currently does not have full support
for ink (even so, ink can be used in e-mail, tasks, and calendar items). Office 2007
promises a fully pen-enabled utility, bringing it productivity benefits comparable
to similar applications listed here.
26
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From Convertibles to Slates
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Chapter 1
Microsoft Journal
Microsoft Journal is a fully pen-enabled application (it is the ink equivalent of
Notepad). Each Journal file is analogous to a notepad of paper, but in this case the
notepad is stored digitally. The application allows users to write, erase, copy, and
paste ink. Users can also select from a variety of pen styles, including different line
colors and widths.
Figure 1.5.
|
Microsoft Journal in action
More sophisticated applications that extend the functionality of Microsoft
Journal include Microsoft OneNote, EverNote, and Agilix GoBinder.
Ink-Enabled Software
Microsoft Office OneNote. A digital notebook.
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/onenote/
Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. This is a group of
programs designed to enhance the tablet PC experience.
www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/tabletpc.mspx
EverNote. A software application that allows users to capture text notes, images,
digital ink, and more.
www.evernote.com
Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
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Copyright 2008, ISTE ® (International Society for Technology in Education), Tablet PCs in K-12 Education, Edited by Mike van Mantgem.
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Part I
|
The Tablet PC Revealed
StrokeIt. An advanced mouse gesture-recognition engine that lets users “draw”
on their computer screen using a mouse.
www.tcbmi.com/strokeit/
MindManager. A visually-oriented information mapping software.
www.mindjet.com
Inspiration and Kidspiration. A graphics-oriented mapping software designed
for K–5 learners.
www.inspiration.com
PDF Annotator. A software that allows users to annotate any PDF file using
the mouse or a tablet PC pen.
www.ograhl.com/en/pdfannotator/
Adaptive Book Project. The tablet PC version of this project lets users create,
organize, and share pen-based annotations.
www.cs.cmu.edu/~ab/
Windows Messenger. This instant messaging software supports ink within
messages.
www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/windowsmessenger/
Trillian Astra. Like Windows Messenger, this instant messaging software also
supports ink within messages.
www.trillian.im/
Course and Content Management
Moodle. A free, open source software package designed to help educators create
effective online learning communities.
http://moodle.org
Sakai. A set of software tools designed to help instructors and students collaborate
and communicate.
http://sakaiproject.org
GoCourse Learning System. An instructional and course management system.
www.agilix.com/GoCourse.aspx
GoBinder. A personal productivity application for students and professionals.
www.agilix.com/GoBinder.aspx
28
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From Convertibles to Slates
|
Chapter 1
Blackboard Backpack. An electronic content management tool.
http://backpack.blackboard.com
Thinkwell. A producer of online textbooks and other interactive electronic
courseware.
www.thinkwell.com
Elluminate. A real-time virtual classroom environment designed for distance
education and collaboration with academic institutions.
www.elluminate.com
Adobe Connect. A flexible Web communication system, designed to help users
create and manage e-learning courses and curricula.
www.adobe.com/products/connect/
FranklinCovey PlanPlus Online. An electronic version of this popular planning
system.
http://planplusonline.com
Sketching Software: General
ScanScribe. A document image editor that allows users to manipulate sketches,
handwritten notes, whiteboard images, screenshots, and scanned documents.
http://scanscribe.com
Geometer’s Sketchpad. This software allows users to build and investigate
mathematical models, objects, figures, diagrams, and graphs.
www.dynamicgeometry.com
Winplot. A general-purpose plotting utility that allows users to draw curves
and surfaces.
http://math.exeter.edu/rparris/winplot.html
LaTeX. A document markup language and preparation system that automates
many typesetting and desktop publishing tasks.
www.latex-project.org/intro.html
Sketching Software: Art and Music
ArtRage. A software that provides a simple blank canvas and a set of brushes,
pens, and other tools that allow for complete freedom of expression.
www.ambientdesign.com/artrage.html
Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
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Copyright 2008, ISTE ® (International Society for Technology in Education), Tablet PCs in K-12 Education, Edited by Mike van Mantgem.
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Part I
|
The Tablet PC Revealed
CorelDRAW. A popular graphics program that provides excellent pressure
sensitivity and drawing capabilities.
http://coreldraw.com
Paint.NET. A free image and photo editing software.
www.getpaint.net
LADDER Sheet Music. A software that will allow users to score musical notes
and replay them.
http://srl.csdl.tamu.edu/musicscribble.shtml
http://srl.csdl.tamu.edu/posters/SRMusicPoster.ppt
Sketching Software: Math and Science
FluidMath. A software that allows instructors to write equations and draw
diagrams or objects. Equations are recognized mathematically and can be
graphed using a special gesture with a tablet PC pen.
www.fluidmath.com
ChemPad. A software that translates standard two-dimensional drawings of
molecules into three-dimensional structures.
http://graphics.cs.brown.edu/research/chempad/home.html
MathPad2. A mathematical sketching software that converts handwritten math
formulas into free-form diagrams.
www.cs.brown.edu/~jjl/mathpad/
xThink MathJournal. A software that attempts to simplify mathematical
formatting on the computer.
www.xthink.com
Recording Software
Camtasia Studio. Camtasia is a screen-recording software. Though not designed
for use exclusively with tablet PCs, this software is designed to record on-screen
activity. Camtasia’s screen capture feature can record the instructor’s pen
interaction with presentation slides. Accompanying audio explanations can also
be recorded. Students can then access these recordings for step-by-step review.
www.techsmith.com/camtasia/
30
Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
Copyright 2008, ISTE ® (International Society for Technology in Education), Tablet PCs in K-12 Education, Edited by Mike van Mantgem.
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From Convertibles to Slates
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Chapter 1
Other similar PC-based screen recording software includes Adobe Captivate
(www.adobe.com/products/captivate/) and My Screen Recorder Pro (www.
deskshare.com/msrpro.aspx).
Collaboration Software
Tablet PC software applications specifically designed to enhance classroom
collaboration constitute a small but growing segment of the software market.
The applications highlighted here can provide profoundly positive classroom
experiences for teachers and students alike.
DyKnow Vision. Designed for use on tablet PCs, interactive whiteboards, and
non-tablet PCs, DyKnow Vision is collaborative note-taking software. Teachers
can use this software to transmit their presentations to student computers for
their annotation. Students can use the tools in this software to respond to a
lesson in real time; then later replay that lesson step-by-step. This fully supported,
scalable software is designed to work in fixed, mobile, and distance learning
environments.
www.dyknow.com
Classroom Presenter. Classroom Presenter is software that integrates computergenerated slides and digital ink and then synchronizes those files on multiple
computers. The result is a flexible, interactive learning environment where both
instructor and students alike can write on a given slide in real time. Teachers
receive a list of student submissions and can choose which submissions to display
to the class. Moreover, teachers can lock student input to only the slide currently
being worked on, or they can unlock the slides to allow students to browse ahead
or go back for review.
http://classroompresenter.cs.washington.edu
Ubiquitous Presenter. Similar to Classroom Presenter, this tablet PC software
enables teachers to annotate prepared class presentation slides in real time. The
software then allows students to synchronize with the respective lesson and
interact with the materials in real time. Conversely, student computers can be
unsynchronized to the lesson, thus allowing students to view the presentation
slides at will. The instructor’s inking is archived online, stroke-by-stroke, and
students can access and replay the lesson at any time.
http://up.ucsd.edu/about/WhatIsUP.html
Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
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Copyright 2008, ISTE ® (International Society for Technology in Education), Tablet PCs in K-12 Education, Edited by Mike van Mantgem.
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Tablet PCs in K–12 Education
Mike van Mantgem has been writing and editing books about using
technology since 1994. He earned his English/Language Arts teaching
certification from the University of Iowa.
Dave Berque is a professor of computer science at DePauw University.
Edward J. Evans is the interim executive director of IT Teaching and
Learning Technologies at Purdue University. Tracy Hammond is
an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at
Texas A&M University. Kenrick Mock is an associate professor in the
Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Alaska at
Anchorage. Mark Payton is the director of information resources and
technology at Vermont Academy. David S. Sweeney is the director for
information technology in the Division of Student Affairs at Texas A&M
University.
June 2008
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Copyright 2008, ISTE ® (International Society for Technology in Education), Tablet PCs in K-12 Education, Edited by Mike van Mantgem.
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