TEP TeachBlog headerTEATalks: Tablet Devices in the Classroom « Teaching Effectiveness Program

TEATalks: Tablet Devices in the Classroom

Tablet Device standing by booksIn our last TEATalks session Professor Greg Bothun (Physics) presented on his instructional use of the XOOM tablet device.  Greg broke down nicely the positive attributes along with the limitations of using a tablet device in the classroom.

Why?  The Positive Attributes:

  • Mobility:  Using a lightweight tablet device frees one up from having to haul a laptop to each class session.
  • Switching Between Applications:  The tablet device allows for quick and fairly seamless switching between applications.
  • AV Device:  The tablet device outputs audio to the projector and along with the ease of switching between applications allows for dynamic use of video and audio.  As such allowing for more multimedia presentations.
  • The XOOM has Flash compatibility.
  • Output Resolution of 1280 x 800:  This high resolution allows for presentations to fully utilize applications such as Google Earth for dynamic learning experiences.
  • Camera Tool:  The camera allows one to take on the fly photographs and video to then use immediately in a presentation.
  • Synchronization Options:  One can use the tablet tools to easily synch applications such as multiple email accounts.

The Limitations:

  • PowerPoint is limited to the PPT Slide Viewer only and there is no mobile support for the full PowerPoint suite of tools and presentation options.
  • Lack of JAVA support.
  • Contact surface areas are large and as such does not allow for fine touch control over small areas of the display screen.  One can workaround this by using a mouse.
  • Working on the tablet touch motion does take practice, and one can find themselves moving around to areas not intended.
  • Not all projection units support HDMI, which is required for the high-quality presentations mentioned above in the “Positive Attributes.”

Dual Cameras: SNAP AND SHARE LIFE FRONT AND BACKOverall working with a tablet device in the classroom allows the instructor an easy to carry tool for creating dynamic presentations.   One big advantage (again with a little practice here!) is that tablets allow for more free-form and multimedia presentations.   A presenter can easily switch between applications such as a PowerPoint slide show, online video clips, and even creating on-the-fly photographic images.

Additionally, with how more and more students are coming to campus with their own tablet devices there are exciting possibilities to not only use the devices for presentations but also for collaborative and individual learning activities.  One example would be to have students work in groups to collect data to upload to Google Earth for interactive geography, or other, projects.

Join us for our final presentation this week when David Chamberlain, Adjunct Faculty in the Classics Department will be presenting and demonstrating for us the use of an interactive white-board using the Nintendo Wii. In this session David will demonstrate how he has used this innovative technology in his teaching of classic languages such as Greek.   The session is again in the McKenzie Collaboration Center (175) at 3:00.

-Robert Voelker-Morris

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