There are two main reasons why I decided to use a tablet pc to teach: accessibility and sustainability. I believe using technology in our teaching is the change we all need. Students use technology everyday from chatting online to writing a research paper. Why not use it in the classroom?
Technology allows us to have access to a variety of information on the internet: there are free resources, we can contact teachers/guest speakers from around the world, and useful websites and programs. Access to this information allows our classrooms to be more dynamic and interesting. The second reason I use a tablet pc is to reduce the amount of paper and supplies that we use in the classroom. Have you ever noticed that the handouts that you gave your students are stuffed in desks at the end of class? Or how dry erase pens dry out in a week? We can reduce this waste by writing directly onto your computer and posting your notes as pdf documents online.
As a secondary school math teacher, every day I would go to my classroom, turn on my projector, and hook it up to my tablet pc and prepare for my lesson. I insert images, graphs and internet links that I need for that day’s lesson into my notes on OneNote. Microsoft OneNote has become my chalkless chalkboard or inkless overhead projector. I present my notes in multiple colors, insert images and graphs. At the end of the day I would print my notes as a pdf file using Adobe Acrobat and post them online on my blog. My students who are away on field trips or away sick appreciate this because they have access to my notes that evening and do not have to rely on their friends to take notes. They know if there will be a quiz next class and what homework is due. I do not print out notes for students. If they want them, they can copy it while I teach or print them out (or just view them) at home. Sometimes I would post answers to quizzes and homework online. This can easily be done on my tablet much the same way as how you write the answers on a piece of paper. I import a pdf copy of the quiz/homework into OneNote and annotate it with notes, highlighting key words in the question. I find it is much easier than using MathType to type out equations and there is no waste of ink, chalk and paper.
There are other benefits when working with a computer. I use graph programs and manipulate the graph in real time. In some cases, a student may ask for an example of a graph that is not part of the lesson. I can make a new graph using the program Graph 4.3 and paste it into OneNote as an image. I can even write on top of the graph to show critical areas. I do not need to preplan the graphs that I am going to use and print them out on an overhead sheet or try to copy it onto the chalkboard. Other times it is hard for students to copy graphs from the overhead. Instead they can save my notes on their computer. Some students find it hard to listen and copy at the same time so they can benefit from the notes being online when they get home.
I also teach Film Studies so it is beneficial for me to have a projector and computer. I often use Youtube videos to show video clips of elements of cinematography. I can use M2ScreenInk to mark up my screen and highlight parts key elements. I can then print out my screen and post these notes online.
This is only a small portion of what I want to use my tablet pc for. In the future I might invite a guest speaker from across the world, create a classroom blog or find a neat program I can show my class. Technology can be wonderful.