Friday, June 20, 2008

The Way I Learned Has Changed

This week, I received an HP Tablet PC. I was just thinking about the difference between how I learned to use a Mac six years ago and what I've been doing this week.

Some Things Never Change
I have to put my hands on the tools. I'm trying to think about why I am good at what I do. At the same time, I wonder why some people find it more difficult. Part of the equation is that I like to play. When I learned that I was going to be teaching using Macs, my first question was: when can I bring one home to play? I am excited about using the tablet. When it arrived on Wednesday, the first thing I wanted to do was open it and find out how it works.

My Use of the Web Has Changed
Six years ago, I knew enough that there had to be training, tutorials, and articles online about using Macs to teach K-8 students. I don't know why - maybe the lack of a laptop and wireless Internet - but I printed reams of paper. I felt really guilty about throwing the paper out, too. I had a binder for each group of students I'd be teaching.

Now I have my social bookingmarking sites: delicious and Diigo. Now I don't have to worry about forgetting a useful site and I have a backup of my links at two different locations. I use Diigo to be a part of groups of educators. I use delicious for its simplicity. I believe I am learning along the way that a delicious account makes very little sense unless it is your own. I have now taught four different groups of adults about integrating technology in education. I'm not too sure about how intuitive either system is unless you create, tag, and maintain your own site. Does anyone have any feelings about this either way?

My Connections With Others Has Changed
The best I could do with the Mac was speak with the previous two teachers at the school. The other day, I asked my Twitter network for suggestions on open source software to put on the tablets and received a great set of ideas. Some I use all the time on the Mac and they would have been natural additions. Some were Windows applications. Even though we have two Windows desktops at home, I use games and Quicken on them for the most part. I am also being exposed to other people's bookmarks and have been saving blogs, podcasts, and other items related to tablets. I am receiving so many ideas.

Leading the Charge
I'm looking forward to my reflections here in a year. It's going to be an undeniable opportunity having a wireless lab full of 20 tablet PCs in the building. I am fully focused on gathering momentum in the school for the technology to spread out of the computer lab and past simple Internet research, Word documents and printouts.

Image Citation:
A photo of my lab back in November from my Flickr account.


  1. Ann - congratulations on getting a Tablet PC! (An HP, at that!). I am the program manager at HP for our Global Higher Education grants, where we have been focusing on the HP Technology for Teaching initiative ( We have grant recipients all over the world who are using Tablet PCs to redesign their classrooms.

    If I can be of assistance in your Tablet PC adventure, please let me know! In the meantime, you may want to check out my blog where I'm sharing what I'm learning from grant recipients about "Teaching, Learning, and Technology" (

    Digital ink is simple - and remarkably powerful, especially for disciplines that are fundamentally diagramatic in nature (Math, Science, Engineering, Art, Foreign Languages that don't use Roman Characters... the list goes on).

    I wish you all the best!

    Jim Vanides
    Program Manager
    HP Global Social Investment Team

  2. Ann,
    How exciting for you and the students. 2 apps you might want to download for the computers are Notestar and Thinktank from I used both when my students did their research papers last year and it was so much easier if they were available in the Firefox Bookmark Tool bar. Just a suggestion and congratulations again.

  3. Jim:
    Thank you for your blog as a resource. I've very excited to have a chance to use this technology. I'll have to take a close look at the HP Technology Teaching Initiative as well.

    I have not used Notestar or Thinktank. I'll have to take a look at both of these programs over the summer. It's a new learning curve being on Windows in educational technology for the first time.