You may be aware that the University of Derby is planning electronic submission in a phased roll out from this September. As part of the project there will be a print to mark option for the first year (so tutors can print electronically submitted work and then mark on paper). It is expected that during the first year tutors will at least try a form of electronic marking.
The range and sheer quantity of technology for electronic marking is staggering. It is therefore part of the Learning Technology Team’s role in the project to lead in the pilots of different types of electronic marking. Ultimately we want to work with the academic community to fully evaluate these technologies in the “real world”, but in the first instance, we need to weed out the least useful technologies, so currently members of the learning technology team are trying out some new type tablet devices.
New style tablets?
In the early 2000’s tablet computing almost took off with the advent of laptops with swivelling and touch sensitive screens. I remember attending the BETT conference in 2003/2004 and almost every exhibition had some kind of tablet device or software for tablets. At this time I was very excited about what the potential possibilities were of tablet computing (in a lecture theatre, from the tablet you could potentially change slides, access notes, pass it around your students to enable their contributions) unfortunately this craze never really caught on. (Here is an interesting article exploring reasons the early phase of tablet computer never caught on). Using the success of the iPhone and more recently the iPad there are now a large number of new-style tablet devices on the market. So what are the differences between these devices and the tablets of yesteryear?
- Touch screens designed for fingers not pens
- Purpose built operating systems instead basic Microsoft windows
- The “app store”, a concept first coined (and patented) by apple. Applications designed especially for your device, which are accessible through one easy to use store or market
- good battery life (8-16 hours instead of 1-3 hours)
Personally I have been using an ASUS Transformer for about a week now, and in my next posting I will share some initial impressions with you. Finally in part 3, I will look at how the tablet can be used for electronic marking (if it can).
As a special treat here is the promotional video for the ASUS Transformer an also a video from Dell introducing their tablet pc from 4 years ago