Beth Holland

Food for thought…

Why I like a Stylus

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I started this conversation via Twitter with @DimitrisTzouris and realized that I needed more than 140 characters.

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 10.15.49 AM

So, here’s my answer to Dimitris…

My one frustration with “touch screens” that do not have real inking capabilities is that they are essentially just acting like big trackpads. I think that there is tremendous value in students being able to have the kinetic ability to draw, handwrite, and highlight. Whether you choose an iPad or a Windows tablet/convertible, I think there is a huge value in being able to actually ink on a screen. Chromebooks are great, but a current limitation (I realize this could change tomorrow) is the lack of ability to easily ink.

Consider this:

  • Students need to be able to write out math problems/science equations. Typing is pretty inefficient.
  • Many students learn more effectively when they have the option to hand-write their notes and ideas. I can speak to this personally, as I handwrite when I need to synthesize and comprehend as it slows down my brain. Typing is too fast.
  • A lot of students engage more deeply with text when they can make a physical highlighting motion to annotate text as well as “write” in the margins with either physical or digital ink.
  • Think about the ability to differentiate. How about the students that may learn best by sketchnoting, mapping, or drawing out their thoughts.

If you are at the beginnings of making a choice, it may be worthwhile to do a needs assessment to figure out what device might best support all of your learners. I like having the option of being able to use text and ink. There’s also amazing benefits to having a front and rear facing camera (also available on most tablet/convertible devices). So, that’s the long reason for why I like a stylus if given the choice.

Though slightly off topic, one last question to consider: what do you want student learning to look like once they have these devices?

Author: brholland

EdD Student, Writer, Speaker, Consultant

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