Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Using a Microsoft Surface Pro for teaching

With the proliferation of Apple tablets on campus, you might think that Apple have the largest share of the tablet market.
However, the Microsoft Surface Pro appears to be becoming the tablet of choice for teaching staff here and these are just a few reasons why I think teachers have embraced it:
It's as easy to record scribblings on the surface pro with Echo360 personal capture and if you use a mini display port to HDMI adapter you can easily display the output on the data projector.
If you don't want to be tethered to the lectern, the Wireless Display Adapter will let you walk around with the tablet while you're lecturing.
Recently we've seen staff using OneNote in lectures to develop ideas (often using the drawing feature of the Surface Pro)and then saving the resulting file as pdf for dissemination to students.
For some years now, Dr Joel Feinstein has been preparing a pdf skeleton of his lectures with gaps to be filled in.
He then generates a Windows Journal note from the pdf file, and gives his lectures using this (adding additional pages if necessary) and a data projector.
Additionally, he makes audio or video recordings of his lectures and then makes all of the resulting materials available to students from his module web pages.
This way of teaching is effective because it utilises all of the benefits of active learning, requiring students to actively participate in the process of learning rather than passively listening.
Audrey van der Meer and Ruud van der Weel from the Norwegian University of Science & Technology (NTNU) studied the differences between using a pen and using a keyboard and how it impacts learning and concluded that "Stylus technology – like the Surface Pen – provides a means to have an electronic record of one’s notes all in one place, while also having the benefit of integrating sensorimotor information as it comes in via the senses and is subsequently processed in the various parts of the brain through hand movement”, so perhaps students would also benefit from using the tablet pen to make their notes?.

Surface pro annotations - captured in a lecture theatre with Echo360.