I don't use a pen tablet, but I do use a TabletPC. Here are some of the ways I use it:
1. If my class is scheduled in a room with a projection system, I hook up my TabletPC to the projector and write my notes using Microsoft Journal (which displays on the projector). I then create PDF files of my notes which I post in my Moodle installation. I hope to start audio recordings and screen videos of my lectures as well.
2. I use Camtasia and Microsoft Journal to record video of myself answering questions students have posted online. I can then upload the video for all the students to see. I don't do this for every problem, just those I feel that the video would be beneficial. A short couple minute problem usually takes me about fifteen minutes to record, edit, produce, and post. I produce it as a flash file, which usually stays less than one megabyte for short problems.
Hope this helps!
Thanks for your detailed reply. Do you have a course with guest login where I could see your notes and/or videos? It's research for a talk I'm doing on Moodle "best practices" in math.
Is Microsoft Journal only for recording handwritten notes? Or can it also be used to electronically mark up a Word or PDF document? I'm not clear on the capabilities of pen tablets vs. tablet PC's, but I believe pen tablets can be used from within programs like Word (as well as for recording notes).
I don't allow guest access into my courses. I'll email you some information where you can get in.
You can use Journal to markup any document. There's a printer driver that I can print any document to a Journal document format. I can then open up the Journal document and write away. Actually, if I need to markup Word, I can do it right in Word.
In regards to differences between the pen tablets and tablet PC's, I think it's a matter of convenience. With the TabletPC, I have my computer and tablet all in one. I don't need to lug around a notebook and a separate tablet. The other thing is there are some features built into the Windows TabletPC operating system that allow OS/UI tasks to be performed with the pen. I really don't use that feature much.
Using pen tablet is a bit difficult initially as while writing on the tablet one has to look at the screen. It would be much easier to write on the surface where one can see what one is writing in the same place therefore I guess TabletPC could be worth trying for a new user. However, now I am getting somewhat accustomed to pen tablet as I have been using it for long.
Which pen tablet do you use (or would you recommend)? Tablet PC's are out of my price range.
I see that you're a physics teacher as well as a math teacher. I'm looking for "best practices" in science and math, and I'd value your input. Many physics Web sites have animations of physical principles. Do you use any of these, and if so, how? For example, do you link to them in Moodle? Some sites (like webphysics.davidson.edu) have downloadable java applets for creating your own animations. Have you used any of these, and if so, how? Have you experimented with SCORM?
I have played with animations quite a lot linking them to Moodle and have come across the site mentioned by you. However, this year with the growing bandwidth speed at the user end, rise of videos on the internet and the ease in making them etc. I am shifting somewhat towards them. Animations/videos are good to explain concept in an interesting manner. The web hosting disk space and bandwidth limits have become very high and it takes very less time to do the recording while explaining a concept and then upload it. I think flash, shock wave, java applet creation would take much more time.
I have not yet explored the advantages of SCORM and would like to learn.
I teach Science, Biology and theory of knowledge on the International Baccalaureate program. Our school bought 4 interactive whiteboards so I started playing with the smart board software with a cheap A4 tablet from aiptek (170 Swiss Francs approximately 120 US Dollars). Then I noticed that the license forbids the use of anything other than Smart technologies equipment. So I looked for an alternative. I found notateit for £16.95 license http://www.notateit.com/ it is a great piece of software. You can use the whiteboard screen with a beamer for free hand drawing writing etc. Annotate on top of existing documents web site applets simulations videos etc. The ouput is as manually contolled screen or (custom area) shots or each whiteboard page as an Image. I then use OpenOffice with photoalbum installer installed which collects all images in a folder into a StarImpress (Powerpoint replacement +). This can be futher edited or directly exported to flash or pdf format. I then upload them to a moodle course or combine them into an exe http://exelearning.org/ file which can be later uploaded as a website package or as a SCORM. I tried reload and gave up with its complexity once I found exe. There are still a few issues with exe but it is extemely intuitive, has a variety of idevices to embed content into web pages or SCORM or IMS e.g java applet, audio, images, flash files (even flash video with a few problems), cloze completion tests, scorm tests etc.
I have started to experiment with a three tablet set up. 2 tablets are linked to my laptop via a USB hub and laid out so students can interact with the white board. I have had some of my best lessons ever solving genetics problems with student interaction. Very quickly students were collaboratively suggestion solutions and different interpretations of the available data, applying concepts learned in previous lessons. This approach seems highly applicable to math and
physics problems. The notateit software is great to pre prepare half completed slides with diagrams, animations etc for student colaborative completion.
I have taught a group of students how to use the software to prepare their own presentations of problems and issues. Then the moodle course area is great to archive or publish the presentaions for critical peer review.
I hope some of these ramblings help.
I have used it just in the past few days. You can open pdf files as a background and then save and export in different formats
Very intuitive for use with a tablet.
Tried it....it definitely does what I wanted.
I forgot to mention how I plan to use Jarnal.
I will prepare quizzes as pdf documents with enough space between the problems for students to do their work (students take their quizzes on paper). After the quiz, I will post the solutions on Moodle. With the pen tablet, I will annotate the original pdf document with my solutions in the spaces provided, export jpg snapshots, and display these in a Moodle Web page.
When I simulated this process with Jarnal. I discovered that Jarnal only exports a snapshot of the current page. So for a multi-page document, you must page through and export a snapshot for each page. Slightly inconvenient, but I'm not complaining.
What pen tablet do you use? What would you recommend for the above application? I'm hoping to be able to get away with the cheapest consumer level tablet like the Wacom Graphire 4 x 5.
Thanks again for a great suggestion.
I have not fully investigated it yet but I believe that Jarnal has a pdf multi page helper program available. At the moment I have saved multiple image files into a directory and then use the photo album tool in OpenOffice to create a StarImpress which can be exported to pdf or flash
As far as the cheap tablet I have bought this one for 139 Swiss Francs from a local supplier Amazon has it for a hicher price.
Superb thing about this is that it comes with myscript notes and with 15 minutes of training it turns free hand notes into text and block diagrams. I prepare a lot of work using the pad unconnected. When connected it works in usb mode and controls the laptop as normal.
Great discussion. A good resource is for creating Math movies using a pen input device is Fahlberg http://www.coolschooltools.com/whiteboardmovies.html
If you dig around you will find some tips on different tablet types and graphic tablets versus tablet PCs.
Also I came across this product called the ipen which claims to draw on any surface (though I haven't used it) http://www.ipen4you.com/ipen.htm
Thank you for starting this very interesting topic! I use a "Graphire.4" tablet (8in x 4in) to produce short tutorial videos for my Math classes. I got into buying it motivated by a really great tool whose "demo" version is free in the Internet. The instructor can produce videos (with audio) in seconds and immediately give to the students a link to the video tutorial. It is so simple and fast, that I have abandonned completely the typing of long answers with MathType in word documents. Here you have a link to a tutorial video I created to answer one of my Internet student's question on how to plot a line on the x-y plane:
The student needs to have a set of speakers in order to be able to listen to the recorded audio, and of course, the instructor needs a basic "microphone" to record the words...
This great tool was created by Jeff Jones ( a Computer pofessor at a California College). It can be accessed via:
and there by clicking on the "Try ot now for free" banner. As you would see the set up is very simple and intuitive, and you can try it just by moving your mouse. Once you get all motivated, and want to perfect your style, you will look into a pen tablet system.
Jeff was kind enough to upload a couple of basic grids for me, when he learned about my interest on his tool, so you will find included two background options: one for the rectangular x-y grid and another one for polar coordinates.
He is developing more and more extra features with time. For example, he has lately included the posibility of using close-caption for the hearing impared.
He offers a wide variety of tools and storing features for Schools that buy a license, but there is a lot already available for the free demo users!
Hope that many of instructors in this forum would find it as useful as I do.
I did finally purchase a pen tablet (also a Wacom Graphire) but my handwriting still looks like a four year old's.