To the Editor:
In reading “Whiteboards’ Impact on Teaching Seen as Uneven” (Digital Directions, edweek.org, Jan. 8, 2010), I thought of how the use of a similar technology—a tablet PC with a projector—has helped me present subject matter (in my case, mathematics) in an effective, engaging manner.
I began teaching with a tablet PC in the fall of 2006, as part of a trial at my school. I’m still amazed at how quickly the tablet became a fundamental pedagogical component.
A real strength of this technology is that by using it I can accommodate different learning styles. Students who learn best by writing things down can continue to take notes; my class notes are available as supplements to their own work. Students who are auditory learners are able to spend more time watching and listening, knowing that they can later look at my notes (posted to our academic intranet site) to reinforce what they learned that day.
No matter the learning style, my students are more engaged, and ask more insightful questions, now that I teach with the tablet. The only thing that hasn’t changed is that students still ask, “When are we ever going to use this?” I welcome that question now, because it’s an opportunity for me to go to the Internet, pull up an example that answers the question, and put the relevant links into the class notes. I can’t imagine teaching without a tablet PC.
Instructor of Mathematics
The Hill School
A version of this article appeared in the January 27, 2010 edition of Education Week as Another Technology With Teaching Impact