My introduction to tablet PC’s

From September 2002 to July 2007 I was the Course Director and Admissions Tutor for the joint honours course GG41 Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of  Nottingham. My co-course director was Professor Roland Backhouse in the School of Computer Science and Information Technology.

When we gave our presentations to the GG41 applicants, Roland would use his Toshiba Tablet PC to give his part of the presentation. (Among other things, this allowed him to explain and demonstrate the differences between Information Technology and Computer Science.) I was very impressed by what Roland was able to do with this hardware, and I thought that this might be a good tool to use to present mathematics classes. However it was not until 2006 that I asked the School of Mathematical Sciences to purchase a tablet for me to use when teaching my large second-year analysis class.

The fate of that first tablet was a rather sad one. Unlike the tablet laptops, which form their own protective cover when closed, the first tablet I used had only a soft protective covering. One day I made the mistake of keeping the power cable in the same compartment of my carry case as the tablet.  Somehow the pins of the plug managed to move around until they were facing the glass of the tablet, and when I put the carry case down there was a horrible cracking sound. That was the end of the tablet’s screen. Be warned! Since then I have only used tablet laptops.

Roland Backhouse continues to use his tablet laptop in classes with great success. Unlike me, he primarily uses hand-written Windows Journal documents. For example, he demonstrates and plays simple games (such as match-stick games etc.) interactively with the students using this system.

Joel

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