Brigitte Lahme

  • Wacom Pad – Small Stipend Project
  • Brigitte Lahme
  • Dept. of Mathematics
  • October 4, 2014

Over the last few months I have tried out the Wacom pad for use in my classroom. Playing with the device has been a lot of fun, and I am very excited to continue using it to support my teaching. I am using the pad for two main activities:

  • To write on pdf documents in class, which are projected onto the screen.
  • To record short “Khan-Academy”-like videos to post on moodle. I want to be able to assign my students to watch the videos outside of class and then to do similar problems or problems that build on what they watched.

Activities

  May 2014: Meeting with Tim to install the software and get a first tutorial. We tried out different applications to open a pdf file that I could then write on freehand.

  • Summer 2014: I practiced writing freehand on a pdf document with limited success using Acrobat Pro. I ran into several limitations of the program that made it difficult to use. (Pencil tool changed into selection tool when I came too close to previous writing, so I could not draw graphs where I had to draw lines crossing each other or put tick marks on axes etc.)
  • September 2014: I tried out using the Wacom pad in several of my classes. The wireless capabilities worked well and I got better at writing and drawing. Some of the problems with Acrobat Pro made the use awkward. I also had occasional problems with the pad that were only solved by restarting my computer. (Every once in a while the pen does not work. No matter where I touch the pad, it projects into the upper left corner of my screen.)
  • October 2, 2014: Meeting with Tim and Patrick to install Camtasia and to record my first video. Tim and Patrick were very helpful. They spent two hours with me to install the software and to give me a short tutorial on how to use it. They listened to the problems I had encountered in using Acrobat Pro, and Patrick found a free application called “Skim” that works perfectly to open a pdf file and write on it. They could not solve the problem with the pen projection right away but they are going to investigate a solution. In the evening I recorded and posted my first video on moodle. It is posted here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B6AE_k7mJ0JIZGhyeTRRZldLbW8/edit
  • October 3, 2014: Meeting with Izabela, Martha and Ann. We shared our experiences with the Wacom pad so far. Martha and Izabela also installed “Skim” and tried out the software. We made an appointment with Tim for October 24 for a Camtasia tutorial to learn how to edit and do voice overs. We’ll give a short presentation in the math and stats department meeting on October 28.

Summary

It took quite a bit of time and effort to find the right applications to use with the Wacom pad and to set everything up so that I can easily use the pad. I had to be able to spent several uninterrupted hours to practice and get help. The staff in the faculty center was very helpful and easy to work with. Now that I invested the time and solved most of the early problems, I think it will be great to use the pad on a regular basis. There are possible other ways to use the pad:

  • Write and post solutions to exams
  • Write and share the screen during video conferences with collaborators or students.
  • Grade and write comments on electronically submitted assignments.