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Removing Constraints
Author: Robert Baker, Cincinnati Country Day School | May 16th, 2012

cincinnati country day logoIn 1996 Cincinnati Country Day School was the first school in the nation to go 1:1. We have been 1:1 in 5-12 since then and have had tablet PCs since 2003. Today, schools deciding to empower their students with a 1:1 deployment face a crucial initial decision...which device to deploy? As Director of Technology at Cincinnati Country Day School, I am in the position to make that decision for my institution, but also to offer access to our tablet program through four tablet PC conferences we host at Country Day. Schools from all over the world have come to see what is possible when the device is a tablet PC. Our program evolved from a constraining laptop program to a flexible tablet pc program.

A 1:1 tablet PC environment is not evolutionary; it is revolutionary in comparison to any other deployment. In a non-tablet PC deployment, too much energy is expended trying to fit business tools to educational tasks. The flexibility that digital ink provides allows educators to focus on desired outcomes. Tablets allow teachers to achieve the lofty goals of seamless collaboration, transparent technology integration, and personalized instruction.

Writing, sketching, annotating, illustrating, highlighting and showing process are essential parts of the teaching and learning process. I want my teachers and students to be able to offer feedback, do peer reviews, and collaborate in real time. I also want them to be able to decide the modality that best fits the task. A classroom full of students typing their notes into their laptops during a lecture turns students into copy machines, not problem solvers. Tablet PCs amplify creativity, they don’t inhibit it. With tools like OneNote, DyKnow, Fluid Math, and Artrage, a classroom transforms into an active, engaging, student-centered environment. Tablets have the opportunity to increase human interaction in the classroom, not reduce it.

The answer to the question “Why tablet PCs?” is not a bulleted list of integration ideas, but rather an introduction to a paradigm where just about anything is possible. I want to challenge all of you to consider your device/environment and identify the constraints you are forced to deal with. A tablet PC would address most, if not all of these. Please take a few minutes and examine some examples of student and teacher work at CCDS in this video.

This is an exciting time in the world of tablet PCs. I have been testing Windows 8 for some time and I am excited that the perfect converged device that I have been after for some time will finally become available. This fall Hybrid tablet pcs, shipping with Windows 8, will address the last constraint I am trying to remove…weight. We will finally have a full blown tablet computer that allows us to remove the screen and enjoy all the benefits of a thin and light tablet device.

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