Friday, April 5, 2013

Tablet Flash Cards WIPTTE Video

Here's a great video of the presentation made by high school students from South Fayette School District in Pennsylvania. Working with CMU and Aileen Owens, Directory of Technology and Innovation, this student team created a valuable K-12 teaching tool based on interactive flash cards.

View it HERE: 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

WIPTTE 2013 will be in March

The Workshop on the Impact of Pen and Touch Technology on Education (WIPTTE, formerly known as WIPTE) will be held in Los Angeles, March 21 - 23. This conference will allow people who are highly influential in pen technology to share research and effective practice on the use of these tools in education.

There is a call for papers as well as videos. Explore the website for more information at

Sunday, November 7, 2010

WIPTE Overview -- Pen Based Technology

WIPTE Overview – Workshop on the Impact of Pen-based Technology on Education
Hosted by Virginia Tech College of Engineering

On Oct. 25 – 26, I attended WIPTE 2010. WIPTE stands for Workshop on the Impact of Pen-based Technology on Education. A visit to gives you the entire flyer explaining the Workshop/Conference. I have taken some excerpts from it to help explain what exactly it is. First of all, let me explain that since the introduction of the ipad, earlier this year, there has been a lot of interest in “tablet” computers or “slate” computers.

The major difference between the ipad and the computers on which WIPTE focuses on is the pen, or stylus. Ipads are comfortable with finger input. Styluses are available but there are not many apps that takes advantage of a stylus, and the idea of handwriting recognition is equally scarce.

There two forms of tablet PC’s – the “slate” which, similar to an ipad, has no keyboard other than a screen based virtual keyboard, and the “convertible” which is basically a notebook computer with an inkable screen. In most, the screen can pivot and nest on top of the keyboard, creating a slate effect. You can add a keyboard and mouse to a Slate if you want.
The pen, or stylus, is the tool that allows one to use the screen of a tablet (or slate) PC as a piece of paper. You can write notes, lists, draw, diagram, and basically use a fully powered PC with all the software you want without ever touching the keyboard! (Or without a keyboard at all, for that matter).

A virtual keyboard is provided, making a tablet PC into a very useful multitasking device. Of course, a tablet PC typically has full WI-FI capabilities and a handy “snipping tool” allows the user to easily grab text and graphics from anywhere to place somewhere else.

Tablet PC’s make great use of a Microsoft program known as OneNote. A simpler program, called Journal, consists of, well, a virtual piece of paper of the user’s choice. Music score, legal pad in yellow, graph paper, stationary are just a few examples of the virtual paper you can select.

One-Note is a virtual notebook with lots of paper in it. You can make as many notebooks as you need, and you can add tabs and dividers and pretty much use One Note to be very organized. A powerful feature of One Note is that ink as well as text is searchable, so even if you take a ton of notes in ink (should I say electronic ink?), EVERYTHING IS SEARCHABLE. Even tags on graphics you snip from websites are SEARCHABLE. Disclaimer: It probably doesn’t work so well if you have the world’s sloppiest penmanship, but I did recently hear that practicing penmanship is good for your brain.

So, the ability to write on the screen using digital ink and the ability to organize work in One Note (which also works just fine for traditional keyboard input devices too), make for better classroom experiences. WIPTE is education focused.

Here are some of the questions WIPTE seeks to answer as well as some key findings, from the WIPTE site.

• Why are Tablet PCs better than notebook PCs?
• Can you add a digital pen to a laptop?
• What software really makes a difference?
• Do Tablet PCs really work for education?

Key Findings
Over the years of the WIPTE conference, participants have
been given insight into the following findings:

Having appropriate software to leverage the pen-based hardware
is a critical component for success.

Teacher buy-in and training are critical components
for success.

Tablet PCs are used differently to support the pedagogies associated
with various grade levels and disciplines.

Convertible Tablets are more commonly used in schools than
the slate form factor.

Planning for both formative and summative assessment
before the deployment helps to promote program evaluation.

Learning from peers is invaluable.

Monday, September 20, 2010


WIPTE addresses the iPad in October

WIPTE 2010 at Virginia Tech, Oct 25 - 26, 2010

Just last week a school administrator asked me what I thought about getting iPads for all the teachers at his school. I had to tell him that my personal experience is that a Tablet PC offers a richer experience than the iPad because the iPad doesn't have any good apps for writing, taking notes. or annotating documents with a stylus. In October, experts will argue the pros and cons of the iPad vs.Tablet PC's in education and I, for one, can't wait to hear what they have to say.

WIPTE, the Workshop on the Impact of Pen-based Technology on Education, is having an exciting debate style session in which proponents of Tablet PCs and IPads describe the potential educational impact of these devices.

"Tablet PC versus IPad Education Smackdown" is just one of the high level presentations on the latest research and information to be shared by the experts in pen and touch computing.

The four Smackdown "Stars" are listed below. For a more detailed bio of each person's very impressive background, see

Dr. Vince DiStasi (Tablet PC) serves as the Vice President - Chief Information Officer and Associate Professor of Chemistry at Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania. Vince has led the focus and implementation of Tablet PC technology to enhance teaching and learning across the curriculum.

Dr. Dani Herro (iPad) is an Instructional Technology Leader in the Oconomowoc Area School District (OASD), Her current projects at OASD include investigating the potential for literacy and learning with iPad and iPod Touch technology, writing a game-design curriculum to be offered to high school students during the 2011-12 school year, positioning the school district to offer virtual schooling for high school students, and working with teachers to augment coursework to include Web 2.0 technologies, video narration, social networking opportunities, and other age-appropriate new media literacies.

Fraser Speirs (iPad) is the Head of Computing and IT at Cedars School of Excellence in Greenock, Scotland. In August 2010 at Cedars, Fraser successfully led the world's first 1:1 deployment of iPads in a whole-school setting. His website has some valuable information on iPads in education.

Robert Baker (Tablet PC) is the Director of Technology at Cincinnati Country Day School in Ohio. He has been instrumental in developing technology programs both locally and internationally with a focus on the use of tablet PCs. At Cincinnati Country Day School, Rob is dedicated to creating the most powerful teaching and learning environment anywhere. Rob is an educator first, and this allows him to look at everything through the eyes of pedagogy, not technology. Four times a year, he hosts very popular Tablet Conferences, where educators flock to Country Day from places as far away as Thailand and Australia, California and Texas, all in the pursuit of capturing the educational power of CCDS' benchmark one-to-one tablet PC program.

Keynote speakers for the conference are Ann McMullan (Executive Director of Educational Technology, Klein Independent School District, Klein, TX) and Dr. Tony Salvador (Senior Principal Engineer at Intel).

The conference also includes poster presentations, hands-on sessions and vendor booths

Early registration fee is $100. After September 30, it is $150.

This infomation was taken from the WIPTE website:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Dream Tablet Computer

I wasn’t going to buy an ipad. I had read about it and was of the opinion that it was a big iphone.

Then I started poking around in the Apple App Store and I discovered more than one “drawing” app and a few “handwriting” apps. I also discovered a third party stylus that had been designed for the iphone.

With this new information I purchased an ipad and eagerly downloaded the programs I hoped would make it perform like an old HP 1100 Tablet PC. I had been using my Tablet PC for years as an extension of my brain – taking it everywhere and using it as a pad of paper. The ability to organize meeting notes as well as being able to draw on documents was important to me. Unlike later versions, the first HP Tablet didn’t need it’s removable keyboard so it actually looked like a slate “slate”.

The ipad apps for writing and drawing don’t measure up to the Tablet PC using the MS Journal software. The ipad touch screen is a gift and a curse at the same time. When I rest my hand on the ipad to write with the stylus, the ipad becomes confused at times. I have yet to find a note taking app that isn’t slow and cumbersome.

I do love surfing the web with my ipad. The touch screen is a beautiful interface that allows me to maneuver all over the page, enlarging and shrinking text and images quickly. No more cumbersome scroll bars! All you need is a thumb and forefinger. Unfortunately, the inability of the ipad to handle Flash is annoying. Many sites just won’t perform on the ipad.

There are some nice apps. The ebook reader is a joy to use because of its great user interface. There are many free games. Youtubes look and run great. But it is not the Tablet of my dreams.

I was very excited when there were rumors of a dual screen tablet from HP. How great would it be to have a “book” format with one screen for reading and one screen that acts as a tablet? I imagined math practice on the tablet side with hints, explanations and instructional videos on the other. Then I heard about the HP Slate. Could this be a combination of the ipad touch capabilities combined with the full computing power of the old HP TC 1100?

I still haven’t found my dream tablet/pen computer/slate. How about you? I’d love to hear your comments!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Smart Paper and Cursive Writing

I heard that Carnegie Mellon has developed a prototype for a new Cursive Handwriting Training Program that takes advantage of the Smart Paper feature of Tablet PC's. Although I have not seen it yet, I understand that it is an elegant program that invites K - 12 students to improve their cursive handwriting. In spite of the preeminence of keyboard input in upper grades, I, for one, think that there is still a very important place for cursive writing in our educational system. As soon as I know more about this, I'll post more.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Effective Learning Through Sharing the Tablet PC Flash Card Program

Tablet PC Flash Cards were discussed earlier in this blog. Now we have a better way to use them for quick and easy memorization of facts -- Sharing and collaboration.

In a research project conducted by one of the CMU students who invented them, the benefits of using the Tablet PC Flash Cards as a collaborative learning tool are being explored. By themselves, Tablet PC Flash Cards enhance learning by providing an easy way to create and use the cards. CMU is testing the theory that when the cards are shared by multiple students and teachers through collaboration the application is an even better learning tool.

Unlike other online flash cards application, this application saves the deck on the users’ computers as a simple file, so it is easy for them to move the deck to anywhere else (like a website) and email it to others if desired. It is also easy to edit the cards and save multiple revisions of the decks without losing the original deck.

The research project is being conducted in an eighth grade geometry course in an independent school. Every student enrolled in this course has a tablet PC laptop. Functionalities that the students and teacher need include the ability to add and save images, save the entire set of cards as a single "deck" file, and being able to iterate through the cards sequentially or randomly. . The teacher first created a deck and then asked the students to create their own, which are shared using Google Groups.

The screen shot shows how they are used with Google Groups.

Imagine how powerful this could be when shared across groups of students world wide. If there was website where I could go and grab a deck of flash cards for, say, geometry, and customize it for my particular course, it would save so much time, whether I was a teacher, or a student. Working with the other students in the class, we could come up with a fast and effective way to study the exact information we are required to learn!