I know many home educators have embraced technology in their home school classrooms in the form of online curriculum and through the use of hand held tablets such as Apples iPad, but have you taken into consideration the valuable benefit of owning a tablet PC?
Tablet PC’s have evolved over the last few years from their first bulky form, with iffy stylus control, to beautiful machines that now offer precision stylus pen usage and touch screen capabilities.
My favorite on the market right now, and I have discussed this before, is the Dell Inspiron Duo. This compact tablet works as either a traditional laptop with keyboard or you can close it up and use it as an easy handheld tablet with the pen or touch screen.
There are many other tablet PC’s on the market ranging in price that include the portable Ultra Mini PC’s like Samsung’s Ultra Mobile PC’s or the fantastically kid friendly PeeWee PC laptops.
So why are these PC’s useful for home education you ask? In my opinion, software companies are just beginning to embrace the limitless possibilities of educational software for them and what is out there is already amazing.
Created with special needs student’s in mind, tablet handwriting software such as Herbi Writer provide a unique approach to mastering the skills to write legibly. The plus side of these programs versus traditional handwriting programs with workbooks and chalkboards is that the programs give the student instant feedback on their writing.
My pro’s for such software include the fact that you are cutting out the cost of a lot of paper and workbooks and you can take screen shots to save your child’s work into a digital portfolio.
No More Worksheets
Most of the curriculum these days offer digital editions of their workbooks or PDF’s that you can print out. When using Microsoft’s OneNote on your tablet PC you can choose to “print to OneNote” instead of printing them out on paper. Then your student simply completes their worksheet using the stylus, directly on the PC in whatever OneNote notebook you have chosen to store them in. All the work is then saved digitally as well for portfolio use.
Once again, we have saved a LOT of paper and money by going this route.
Interactive White Board Lessons
I shared with you early this week how easy it is to use interactive white board lessons, as those provide for the SMART Board. With a tablet PC, you can easily set your child up to work on one of these lessons during their independent work time.
Not only are the lessons interactive, but you can cut out the cost, paper waste and save some storage room in your home by replacing many familiar teaching tools such as file folder games and pocket charts.
Tablet Specific Software
You will find that there is more software out there designed specifically for use with tablets, such as an interactive journal for math, Fun with Construction (a digital lab that helps students grasp geometric skills as they construct structures,) and Microsoft’s Education Pack which includes a digital flash card creator.
The use of tablets in your home school will only increase as more public school systems embrace technology pushing curriculum publishers to provide digital and interactive versions of their textbooks and resources for students and teachers.
It is my hope, that soon, home school curriculum publishers will have the resources to produce dynamic and interactive digital curriculum choices for families beyond the learning games that allow students to totally immerse themselves in learning process while leaving behind all of the three ring binders, loose-leaf paper and heavy textbooks of the past.
If you had a tablet PC for your home education program, what product would you be most interested in including your lessons?