Monday, February 20, 2012

10 things I want to try with the Thinkpad tablet

I'm curious to try out a few ideas I've had for using the Thinkpad in class and to aid my professional practice.  The following is a brief list and description of some things to try.  I'd love to hear from anyone who has tried these things, or who has further ideas to try.

1 - Video experiments of motion and use the frame-rate as a ticker-timer.
I have done this using my Android cell phone which worked really well.  I want to see if it will work better with the Thinkpad because of the higher resolution and better quality camera.  I'm also interested to see whether students will prefer the tablet over a cell phone.  Prior experience has shown that students are reluctant (in my year 13 physics class) to use a cell phone for this.  I think a tablet will be easier and more interesting, engaging students better.

2 - Make notes "on-the-go" to record instant reflections on lessons
Currently, I try to make time at the end of each day to reflect on the lessons, looking for good things to keep on doing and for areas that I can improve on.  At the end of each week I review these observations and give myself one or two things to work on.  The problem is that I am often in a rush to get to meetings or sports practice so I don't end up taking the time.  I am hoping that a tablet, being easier to use on the go, will mean I can add instant reflections to my journal, resulting in more consistency in writing my journal and better recall of events.

3 - Use the tablet as a portable protractor
On the Android Market, I have found a series of applications that can be used to measure different quantities.  The most useful one seems to be a protractor app that uses the internal gyroscope (tilt sensors) of the device.  My year 13 physics class usually does a trip to the cycle velodrome to study banked corners.  Having a calculator, protractor, and note taking device all in one will be very helpful.

4 - Mobile paper notes
I love to make notes on paper.  Random thoughts, squiggles, doodles, and of course meeting/conference notes.  Rather than develop my pile of paper and folders, I hope to be able to use the Thinkpad to accomplish the same and more.  Sharing these notes should be much easier also.  This is only possible with the Thinkpad Tablet Pen which sounds pretty cool - pressure sensitive (for light/thick/dark lines), "normal" pen sized, and providing much more control than with fingers.  Steve Jobs didn't like the idea of a stylus but I really like the precision of a pen/pencil so will love this if it works well.

5 - Technique analysis of sports skills in parkour
Having a rugged, video recording, large screen device will be great to use outside to help students develop better technique.  Being able to instantly see themselves do parkour on a screen that is large enough (and hopefully bright enough) to be used outside, they will be able to see what their movements look like.  This gives valuable feedback to aid improvement.

6 - Saving time and energy setting up, packing up and transporting (portability)
It takes time to set up a laptop (power cable, booting up, etc)  and this adds a small but significant amount of time to the start and end of my day.  I'm hoping to save a little time here which will give me a little more mental space.  I usually ride to school also, which will save space and weight to lug around, but I would like to try running to school which is only possible with a tablet device (and a rugged one that should be able to handle the bouncing around from the motion).

7 - Tweetdeck and Twitter
I have been encouraging my students to use Twitter in class (though so far nobody has) and I want to use Tweetdeck on this device to get instant feedback from my students on the lessons.  My cell phone has to connect through 3G and is a little slow because of this.  Using the better wifi connect-ability, and larger screen, should make this a more user-friendly experience.  I may even give visualtweets a go.

8 - Using it as an E-reader
I am a prolific reader.  I've read books on several devices (Nokia N97 running symbian S60, Android 1.6 on 7 inch tablet, Android 2.2 on 4 inch smartphone, and various computers) and I'm interested to see how this one stacks up.  I'm expecting it will be the best because it is the newest and has the best hardware for the interface smoothness factor.  While there is an advantage to limiting the functionality of a single device, e.g. Kindle, that's not for me.  I prefer one device to do it all.

9 - HDMI connection
I'm looking forward to connecting to large screen displays to play videos.  This will be much easier than when using a bulky laptop.  Our school uses the VGA cables for our data projectors so I will either need an adaptor or I will just experiment with this at home.

10 - Evernote
Evernote rules.  I write a lot and like to use Evernote notebooks as a way of organising my notes in the cloud.  Photos, voice recordings, reminders, and various other uses are very handy in the Evernote way of storing and accessing.  I haven't yet made Evernote truly mobile, due to the lack of a decent tablet as an interface, so I hope to be able to use this more.

No comments:

Post a Comment