Tablet PCs go to students and faculty

Earlier this year, Barry Olsan kindly helped us obtain a number of Tablet PCs from Lenovo as part of a matching grant program at IBM.

Ashley Nelson picks up her Tablet PC from Raymond Allen

In August we sent out a message asking people to tell us what they would do if they had a tablet to use in class during the Fall semester.  We got 25 great responses and I had to choose 10 winners, with help from the Computing Committee.  We let the winners know last week and they soon turned up at the Help Desk eager to pick up their new Tablet PCs.

It was no surprise (this is Mudd!) that there were some intriguing ideas in the applications. One student is going to do a kind of controlled experiment by taking notes the traditional way in one class and using the Tablet in another. Another is going to install Linux and tell us what he learns about the experience. Still another is going to look at the question of whether some classes are more suited to Tablet use than others (Chinese vs Engineering?).

Some faculty received Tablet PCs as well.  Erik Spjut will test the system with an eye to using it in a Spring class.  Zach Dodds is going to make use of the tablet in a Robotics class and Don Remer is going to use his tablet “live” during lectures.

All the winners have agreed to share information about their use of the Tablet PC at a round table discussion in the Spring Semester.  So watch out for news of that event.

Trang Pham with her new Tablet PC

This is an exciting experiment for CIS as well.  With this pilot, we hope to learn more about how Tablet PCs can work in the HMC environment.  Since they came with Windows Vista, we will have the opportunity to learn more about that operating system and develop a sense of the impact it will have as it becomes more common.  And it is just great to be able to give out some free stuff!

We are going to be sending out a similar call for applications to use a Tablet PC for the Spring semester, and we’ll also have an Apple iTouch or two for people to try out.

Here is the list of people who received Tablet PCs this time round.

Erik Spjut picked up his Tablet PC last week

Trang Pham
Alex Ross
Ashley Nelson
Alex Hagen
Ben Margolis
Jeremy Brown
Don Remer
Erik Spjut
Zach Dodds
Greg Herschler

So if you see one of them walking about with a Tablet PC, ask them all about it.  It might give you ideas for an application for the Spring semester!

One thought on “Tablet PCs go to students and faculty

  1. With Professor Sarah Harris’ recent presentation on Classroom Presenter at the TLC/CIS cosponsored panel on teaching and learning, a future use for the Tablet PCs could be to test and try out the Classroom Presenter software in a classroom or learning environment. As it is, the Classroom Presenter software seems like it would be a good tool for short quizzes or tests in addition to the presentation usage now.

    In addition, it almost seems like it would be natural to add collaboration features in future releases. For example, a professor could send out an exercise meant to be tackled by a team or group. The team or group of students with the tablet PCs would then see the same screen on their own tablets and be able to collaborate within the same area. Once the group comes to a consensus, they would send the jointly-arrived answer back to the professor. Scenarios that come immediately to mind could be collaborative flow-charting, circuit design, or mathematical problems. You could even play a game of tic-tac-toe over the network.

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