Teaching With Gadgets

How Technology Can Help Today's Teacher

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Using Your Tablet As A Form Generator

One of the best features of the Tablet PC is the ability to mix ink and text in a single document. I use Word to create all of my grading templates in. Rather than print them off and then photocopy them so that I can mark with a regular pen, I tend to mark right on the Tablet PC.

After you open the form in Word, simply select the pen tool. You can then write your own comments on the form and choose whether to convert them to text or to leave them as ink. I prefer to leave them in "ink" so that I add the personal touch to the student's evaluation.

Why would I bother? Simple. I once I've printed out the student evaluation I can save the document in OneNote (using the Print To OneNote driver) and file it under the student's own tab. This allows me to always have a copy in the event the original grade feedback form goes missing. It cuts down paper usage because I do not need to make an extra copy for myself. Finally, if a parent is out of town I can still e-mail this feedback form to him/her.

I'm hoping that the new Microsoft Origami Project (see posting below) will mean that we will have a Tablet PC with a 7 inch screen. I love my HP TC1100 but it still can be a bit awkward. Something that resembles a Steno Pad would be amazing! The best part about this rumoured machine is that it is expected to be about $800 USD. With that price it becomes very affordable for any teacher to own and even to equip schools with more tablets. The big question, of course, will be what kind of OS it will use. We hope to find that out on March 9!