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IT News Thread, Why tablets are failing miserably in higher education in Other News; ...
  1. #16

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    The thing is, for learning nothing beats books, paper and an organised file.

    In fact the speed one can work with on paper, where multiple annotate-able screens costs fractions of a pence per screen and editing is completely fluid, so comprehensibly trumps anything that can be done on a tablet (stylus based or not)... makes me wonder why whether we really have lost our collective senses over this.

    Yes Surface or a Yoga Pro go some way to overcoming the limitations of ipad style tablets... but their screens are tiny compared to say a couple of text books, an a4 notebook on your desk.

    When I am studying at home, I have a 24" screen, an ipad and a laptop (onenote, goodreader, omnifocus, chrome and Inspiration being my weapons of choice) Yet when I am in a hurry trying to bring a load of different ideas together I need a paper notebook and a selection of coloured pens- nothing else is as flexible or fast.... it makes me wonder how much quicker I'd be if I dispensed with the digital and worked purely in the physical.


    A key element in learning is doing. In the case of lectures/research/classes that involves accessing the information and processing it (usually by adapting it into a format that makes sense to the student). This requires the ability to simultaneously input and output information quickly. Note-taking on a touchscreen is a poor experience. Note-taking on a keyboard is also a poor experience unless you can touch-type and know the keyboard shortcuts (OneNote is ace!)... and you don't need to to sketch something or draw lines between concepts.... because then your flow is broken as you struggle with tools that are about producing pretty pictures not capturing ideas (Inspiration is my defense against this, however I still have to break out to get it - the tactile experience of it on the ipad is so much better than the clunkty 1990's experience on a desktop/laptop). Using only one screen to replace the multiple inputs available through books and notes is stifling.

    Perhaps I should get a yoga pro to see whether the swap between typing and sketching is acceptable.. but then I would have to compromise on screen size. (I am currently sorely tempted by the top of the line MBP huge screen, plenty of room for visualization and plugs straight into my existing workflow).. but I'd still need the other tablet and 24" screen to be anywhere near as productive as with books and paper.


    Technology is a great tool. People need to be taught how to use it appropriately and effectively. In terms of equipment... I suspect that you are looking at needing to spend £250 per year to have an effective fully digitized workflow. Is it worth it?

  2. #17

    Norphy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abillybob View Post
    Simple things like being able to plug a usb device into it made a huge difference in your productivity. You can't argue that fact.
    Your productivity, yes. Probably mine as well if it came to it. The point that I am trying to make is that you can't apply your standards to everyone else. We're all different, what works for you won't necessarily work for someone else.

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    Since I adopted our demo Surface RT I don't take any paper notes now, so easy to do them in OneNote and run split-screen for email \ web-browsing at the same time. For consumption activities I just use my phone, screen is big enough to browse easily and does everything I want, if I need more flexibility then a hybrid device with a touchpad is much more useful for my needs.

    I think there's almost a split between what you might call a "pure" tablet i.e. touch-screen only, capacitative pen \ finger control only vs. the hybrid devices (usually Windows 8 for the most part) that add a lightweight keyboard \ touchpad and digitiser pen. Up until now price has really been the problem for those but that seems to be dropping by the day, mainly thanks to Bay Trail making Atom a viable option.

    Office for iPad definitely brings Apple devices up a notch in terms of usefulness but when I see some of the add-on keyboard covers for iPads they really do look like the afterthought they are. It probably goes against everything Apple believe in their design philosophy but if they made a stylish and well made keyboard cover for the next-gen iPad it'd be in a better position to fight off the "consumption" argument often levelled at it.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    I struggle to see tablets as good for creating content but that is very impressive evidence against that view.
    Thanks - It's not the only bit of work I've done on my tablet but as i'm still a student i'll hold back the rest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Novalee View Post
    That is impressive - I am a maths student as well. Is this speedy to use then? I only ever use the equation editor in Word for typing up assignments, but I don't think I could use it as a note taker really.
    Hiya, yeah look up LaTex or TeX, basically it's a markup language like html. Once you get used to it it's really powerful. If you're on a PC or MAC look at TeXworks, which can work on the files. One major difference to that of the likes of word is that the document is essentially compiled, rather than WYSWYG. I used to use the word editor when i used office 2000 (back in the day), but this is so much more powerful that once you've got the handle you'll never go back (tho equation editor has come a long way since back then).

    For taking notes you first need to understand how it works, and be able to type relatively fast on the screen or on a keyboard. I spent around a month learning to write TeX by using it for ALL of my assessments without fail. Then i tried it in lectures and found that i was quicker on my tablet than by hand writing, and alot lot neater. For Android I've been using VerTeX recently. I also use it for making all my presentations also.

    Quote Originally Posted by psydii View Post
    The thing is, for learning nothing beats books, paper and an organised file.

    In fact the speed one can work with on paper, where multiple annotate-able screens costs fractions of a pence per screen and editing is completely fluid, so comprehensibly trumps anything that can be done on a tablet (stylus based or not)... makes me wonder why whether we really have lost our collective senses over this.
    WOOO - hold up. Learning is a personal thing, what works for you isn't always what will work for everyone else.
    For yourself it may be true that paper is quicker and more flexible than a tablet, for me, i can type quicker (even on a touch screen) than i can write. (In fact i can actually write at 19(copy)-21(dictated) wpm, and type at 35wpm(copying) on a comfort curve keyboard and slightly under that at 34wpm(copying) on my tablet using fingers on touch screen.)
    I'm not saying you're completely wrong, i use paper for when i need to manipulate large equations and don't want to use maths software - but one size certainly does not fit all. Just don't rule out a tablet for me because it may not work for you.

  5. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norphy View Post
    Your productivity, yes. Probably mine as well if it came to it. The point that I am trying to make is that you can't apply your standards to everyone else. We're all different, what works for you won't necessarily work for someone else.
    I'm not I'm applying it to a general student and their needs.

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