eSubmission and Tablet Devices (Part1)

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?

  • Lighter
  • Portable
  • 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)
  • Cheaper

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

4 thoughts on “eSubmission and Tablet Devices (Part1)

  1. Pingback: eSubmission and Tablet Devices (Part2) « The University of Derby Learning Technology Blog

  2. I am keen to look at the use of tablets for emarking. Currently I mark around 100 pieces of work. I use two standard display screens from the desk top computer. I can see the advantage of using a tablet would mean that marking may be more portable. Given what we heard in terms of learning spaces at the LTA conference I like many others often feel that the burden of marking is eased by being able to sit on a sofa and feel comfortable, I find that because I am comfortable I am able to mark for longer without feeling fatigued. So I will be interested to put this hypothesis to the test

  3. Hi

    I have now had the opportunity to use the Motorola Xoom tablet devise. Sadly it did not live up to my hopes and expectations.

    The screen was too sensitive and thus I found that I often ended up somewhere I did not want to be.

    I could get into my emails but could not get in to my udrive files – thus using it to mark would not be that good.using it for meetings to open minutes would also prove difficult

    The key board being on the screen was difficult to use compared with a proper keyboard

    I became so frustated with it I gave up after only two days and welcomed using my laptop despite its size and weight.

    I will not be investing personally in a tablet – I will invest in a netbook

    • I have to agree with you. I’ve looked at a couple of tablets and when considering them as something I could use as a classroom tool, I’ve found them wanting. Like you, I felt the Xoom was far too senstive and limited in what it allowed me to do. In terms of a device for surfing the Net, I found it to be fast and easy to use, so in this respect I was pleased. I can see this being of use in the class if I had to research something quickly. However, the biggest let down for me was not being able to take notes without a multitude of typos. The touch screen felt uncomfortable and cumbersome. I know the Asus Transformer comes with a detachable keyboard, so maybe this is the solution. I will also be investing in a netbook or smaller laptop as tablets still fall short of the mark with regards to waht I need them for.

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