Pen Input Tablet - Selection and Setup for Whiteboard
TPS classes are interactive and often involve writing on the whiteboard in class. In math classes this requires either a pen tablet input or a touch-screen with a stylus. In other courses the pen or stylus is handy but not required. Assignments generally do not require use of a pen tablet or stylus because they can be done on paper and submitted as a PDF scan using a smart phone or tablet (or desktop scanner).

iPad or Android

Though the browser GP7 has been tested to work on Android and iOS devices, TPS provides only limited support for tablets (because the screens are generally too small for a good class experience, and because there are so many different models and operating system variants) and no support for phones (because the screens are too small for taking live classes). In a course (e.g., math) where there may be a lot of writing on the whiteboard, we recommend against trying to use an iPad or Android tablet in place of a pen tablet attached to a computer. For other more limited whiteboard uses, the iPad or Android with a stylus could work, but TPS provides limited support for those devices.

How about a touch-screen notebook (Windows or MacOS) or Chromebook with a stylus?

These can work well, particularly for newer models because the screen writing has improved significantly. It helps if the physical screen size is not too small, the notebook folds to a flat tablet, and you have a stylus for precise writing. If you have a good notebook computer with a stylus, you should not need a separate pen tablet (and you can ignore the rest of this page).

Brand and Model?

A pen tablet input device costs well under $100 for a basic model. For ease of setup and use of the separate pen tablet, consider recommend the Wacom brand of pen tablets, particularly the Wacom Intuous One or Intuous S. Wacom tablets have a feature that is helpful for Windows users, in that it allows you to turn off Windows Ink. This makes legible writing easier. The Intuous One is currently the most affordable model in the Wacom line, but the Intuous S models are nearly as affordable and a little more powerful.

Other companies make acceptable pen tablets as well, and price is often a good indicator of performance. For example, the XP-Pen StarG640 works well enough and costs about about half of the price of the Wacom Intuous S. It doesn't write as smoothly and it is a little buggier, but it does allow turning off Windows Ink and it gets the job done.


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 (bluetooth) pen input tablets are harder to keep working reliably, and do not write as legibly. They are also more expensive. Choose a USB wired tablet, unless you are just adventurous.


To use the tablet with the whiteboard:
  1. The Windows 10 Ink function can interfere with the pen in GP7, 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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