All Secondary staff at the International School of Geneva – Campus des Nations have just been issued with a new Lenovo X380 Yoga laptop. The Yoga bit of that name highlights the fact that the screen hinges back onto itself to produce a Window 10 tablet type device. Underneath the laptop, hidden away on the right-hand side is a stylus. All you need is already there to use your ‘laptop’ as a ‘tablet’. The process of writing on the Yoga X380 is good – not quite iPad Pro good – but at least 90% as good.
The laptops already come with a series of applications that can make productive use of the stylus and tablet set up. Why use the laptop as a tablet? You may find it useful if you prefer to hand write notes but upon a digital platform which will then give you the ease of sharing and organisation. You may want to try digitally marking your student’s work. You may want to draw upon your laptop rather than the classroom screen as your prefer the control a ‘normal’ pen gives you.
The only online offering on this list of applications is Google Keep – Google’s online note taking service. If you go to keep.google.com and log in with your @ecolint.ch account (if you haven’t already) you will find Google Keep. Click on the pen icon and have a try. The writing experience is not as optimised as the other application in this list as it is an online browser based app – but it will sync online and there is an app for your smartphone. You can read more about using Google Keep to help students be more productive here.
If you are looking for a digital note taking application that allows you to combine digitally hand written notes, images, typed notes and even audio clips then OneNote is the tool for you. OneNote is already installed on the staff laptops. When you launch the app you will need to login with your school email address when given the option. This allows you to sync your notes across multiple devices. Once you open the application, click on the ‘Draw’ menu to see the tools you can use with your stylus. I really like OneNote and it is one of the main tools I use in meetings and when trying to organise my thoughts.
Microsoft Ink – PowerPoint, Word and Excel
Just to be clear – we do not require the students to have or to use Microsoft Office applications like PowerPoint, Word or Excel. However teachers have them installed on their school provided laptops and these applications come with ‘Microsoft Ink’ which is good! Try opening a document in either PowerPoint, Word or Excel – click on ‘Review’ and then ‘Start Inking’ it will give you a set of tools that can be used to easily annotate pptx, docx and xlsx files. Google Documents, Google Sheets and Google Sheets can all be easily downloaded in Word, Excel and PowerPoint file formats.
Adobe Reader DC
Adobe Reader has come a long way in it’s 25 year history. There are a range of tools in Adobe Reader that allow you to draw/annotate directly onto PDF files. Click on Tools and then try the ‘Comment’ tool set. Adobe Reader employs some smart line smoothing technologies to help improve your efforts at writing on a digital platform.
SMART Notebook is only installed onto the laptops of Science and Maths teachers by default however it is available for every teacher via the ‘Software Center’. If you would like some help or support installing it come to the IT Office. As you would expect – an application that is designed for drawing on a wall mounted interactive screen will work well with the interactive screen on your laptop.