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.
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.
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.
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!