Martha Shott

  • Wacom Pad Evaluation
  • Martha Shott
  • Dept. of Mathematics
  • October 30, 2014


At the start of the summer, several of the math faculty tested out a Wacom pad tablet to see if it was a device that we could incorporate into our teaching. Three of us decided to experiment with them in the classroom during fall semester 2014. I am pleased to have been a part of this project; the Wacom pad has proven to be a fun and useful resource for me and my students.

I’ve mostly used the Wacom pad for two purposes; first, I use it to correct and comment on electronic student homework submissions. When grading electronic assignments on Moodle, it is often easier to write directly on the students’ assignments with comments or corrections instead of typing out comments into the Moodle gradebook. Second, I have used the Wacom pad to make video solution keys to exams or in-class examples. The videos allow me to explain each step of the solution process, which I hope will enhance students’ understanding of the mathematical content more than written, scanned solutions would. The videos are incredibly simple to create using the Wacom pad combined with screen-capturing software (I use Camtasia).


 There is a bit of a learning curve with the Wacom pad. It took a lot of practice in order for me to feel like I could write and draw legibly and confidently with it (my handwriting using the Wacom pad is reminiscent of my elementary school days). I also had to try out several different programs for annotating pdf files before I found one that I liked; Photoshop worked well for the annotations, but rendered the actual pdf in a format that was difficult for me to see, while the pencil tool in Adobe Pro was a bit cumbersome to use. Ultimately Brigitte Lahme introduced me to Skim, a free application that works pretty well for writing on pdf files. The only trouble is that you must reopen your pdf in Skim to see what is written on it; opening it up in any other program will not show the mark-ups that you made using Skim.