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Tablet PCs: Microsoft.

Aiming to merge the notebook computer with the traditional pen-and-paper concept of note-taking, the Tablet PC is a new computer category that helps solve some of the major barriers to technology integration in schools, including mobility and comfort.

Imagine these scenarios: A teacher grading a student assignment on screen who's able to mark where corrections should be made within the actual document; a student taking notes for each class and never running out of paper, and then being able to search electronically within those notes; an administrator manipulating assessment data on-the-go, without a keyboard.

These are just some of the education uses for the Tablet PC envisioned by former teacher Mary Cullinane, Microsoft's K-12 segment manager. "We absolutely see the Tablet taking the place of traditional laptops for administrators and faculty. It allows them increased mobility and provides a more natural computing experience," she says.

Running the Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC operating system, Tablet PCs are full-featured notebook computers with a twist

Using a digital pen, users can write directly on the screen and save notes in their own handwriting or convert them to typed text for input into other applications. The digital pens can also work as a mouse, allowing users to open applications, select text or display menus. The Windows Journal note-taking utility helps organize notes and capture diagrams and pictures users would normally create on paper. Users can even ink comments on a traditional Office XP application document, emphasizing key points during a PowerPoint presentation or sending an Outlook e-mail message written by hand, for instance. In addition adding an external microphone allows content dictation to the Tablet.

Microsoft's hardware partners are releasing Tablets in a variety of forms. Some will be "pure Tablets" without an integrated keyboard, while others will look more like a conventional notebook and be equipped with rotating screens. Ranging from two to three pounds, a Tablet will cost about the same as a mid-range laptop. The writing surface is roughly the size of a standard paper notebook, and users can rest their hand on the screen while writing or running software.

Cullinane says she expects districts to implement Tablet technology in a number of ways-providing them to individual students, creating mobile carts, and having them used by administrators and teachers, at first



Where to Buy a Tablet PC

The following hardware manufacturers are supporting the Tablet PC initiative in the U.S. (some products may still be in development):



Aplux Communications,

Hewlett Packard,

Compal Electronics,


Fujitsu PC Corp.,

Fujitsu Siemens Computers,

NEC Corp.,

Motion Computing, www.

PaceBlade Technology,

Quanta Computer USA, 1-510-226-1000



Via Technologies,

ViewSonic Corp.,

WalkAbout Computers,

Xplore Technologies Corp.,
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Circle 501
Publication:District Administration
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Nov 1, 2002
Previous Article:Put the horse in front of the cart: don't swear at technology integration. Use project-oriented learning, and it will happen naturally.
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