Pen Input Tablet - Selection and Setup for Whiteboard
TPS requires pen input tablets in all of its math courses, and optionally in other courses. This allows students to submit handwritten work (e.g., math tests) electronically and receive feedback and grades much more quickly than using snail mail, and much more efficiently and thoroughly than using a scanner. It also allows students to use the whiteboard more effectively during interactive class time.

Not an iPad or Android

These instructions refer to a pen tablet input device, not to a handheld computer tablet like an iPad (for more information on iPad or other handheld tablet use with GP5, please go here). A pen tablet input device costs well under $100 for a basic model.

How about a touch-screen notebook with a stylus?

This can work, especially if the physical screen size is not small (15+ inches), the notebook folds to a flat tablet, and you have a good stylus for precise writing. But is it less convenient than having the input tablet separate from the screen itself where you can watch the entire screen and write at the same time. As an example, we have successfully used a Surface Pro to write on a live classroom whiteboard, with tolerable results.

How about a Chromebook?

Chromebooks do not support separate pen tablets. However, some of the better Chromebooks (e.g., Samsung Chromebook) support a stylus writing directly on the touch screen.

Brand and Model?

For ease of setup and use, we currently recommend the Wacom brand of pen tablets. The Intuous line has a feature that is essential for Windows users, in that it allows you to turn off Windows Ink (in Win 8 and 10). This makes legible writing much easier. The Intuous Draw is currently the most affordable model in the line, but any of the Intuous models will work. Other companies make acceptable pen tablets as well, with Wacom being the safest choice.

Size

When choosing a pen tablet, please consider that a larger tablet is easier to write legibly on, but takes up more desk space and costs more. A small (4x6 ish) model is sufficient (and is what many teachers use), but takes more practice than a mid-sized (5x8 ish) model, which costs more and takes more desk space. Either is suitable, and families should chose what best meets their needs and constraints.

Wireless?

Wireless pen input tablets are harder to keep working reliably, and do not write as legibly. Choose a USB wired tablet, unless you are just adventurous.

Setup

To use the tablet with the whiteboard:
  1. The Windows 10 Ink function can interfere with the pen in GP6, making it hard to write in small areas. The Wacom tablets have a setting to fix this issue. With a Wacom tablet, use the tablet settings Mapping tab to uncheck the Use Windows Ink setting.
  2. Make sure you are using the latest driver for your tablet. Check the vendor site for an update.
  3. Maximize your Whiteboard drawing area on your screen.
  4. (Optional) In your Tablet setup, map the tablet active area to the whiteboard active area in width. This way you can write most legibly across the entire width of the whiteboard. You can scroll the whiteboard as needed to change the vertical work area.
  5. When you are writing or drawing, keep your eyes on the Whiteboard rather than the tablet. You will find this improves your accuracy considerably.
This approach allows you to use a standard size pen tablet to write legibly on the whiteboard slide, to write freehand short notes or work math problems or do any other homework assignment or exam.
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