Pen-Based Computing in Education

A recent email has brought to my attention how poorly I have been maintaining this Teach Math with Tech WordPress site. By way of an excuse, all that can be said is that I have been totally engrossed in the work I am doing, and have had little time to write about it. However, resolution for 2013 is to try to write at least one post per week, as the use of this technology is more commonplace.
While at a recent conference in Las Vegas, I noted that many educators refer to iPad use as tablet technology. As a Hewlett-Packard tablet PC user for the past six years, this caused some confusion, as my assumption of a tablet is the allowance for pen-based input. The importance of having a stylus for teaching mathematics in the traditional ‘chalk on blackboard’ classroom gives the ability of solving problems in a step-wise manner, scrolling back to answer questions, and saving and posting notes with complete solutions.
The email asked for an update of devices used for pen-based computing. After four years of teacher/student use of sixty tablet PC’s in the classroom (sometimes 8-10 hours per day) my first choice is still the Hewlett-Packard tablet PC. I am quite excited to try the HP ElitePad 900 set to release in January http://www8.hp.com/us/en/ad/elitepad/features.html. Some other options: Fujitsu Q702, Microsoft Surface, Samsung Galaxy 7, Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2… can begin a Google list.
You can also turn any laptop into a pen-input device with the purchase of a Wacom Bamboo Tablet (<$100) http://www.wacom.com/en/products/pen-tablets/bamboo
Having tried pen-input on an iPad, I have found it lacking in that too much time is taken by having the pen re-orient itself every time you lift it and that you can’t rest your hand on the screen. I have recently read that Doceri GoodPoint can eliminate some of these issues, however, the fact that you have to change settings, adjust to hand position etc, makes me wonder why you would want to bother. Further, the fact that Apple products don’t support flash is too limiting in a classroom that requires students to surf the net for interactive learning objects to supplement their understanding.
Please let me know if there are other pen input devices that you have tried and had success with in the classroom.
On a side note, another website I have recently been investigating is Gooru http://www.goorulearning.org/gooru/index.g#!/home. This has quite an extensive list of mathematics, science and social science learning objects, neatly categorized by their resource type. Definitely one to give a try.

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