Why I bought a touchscreen computer for my teacher computer in the classroom

So I recently got a new computer to help me be a better teacher.

(At least, that’s what I tell myself. It might have something to do with having new technology toys to play with, but isn’t that what classroom technology is all about?)

I am the proud new owner of a Dell Inspirion 17 7000 series laptop. It’s a touchscreen 2 in 1 tablet from Dell.

I like it a lot. It’s blazing fast, I’m running Windows 10, and I can click here and there on the screen with ease.

I went for the touchscreen because one of my students brought their touchscreen computer from home to use in the classroom.

The touchscreen is pretty good…

  • Newer apps, like Microsoft Word 2016 will change the layout of their screen depending on whether you’re using a mouse or touch. (Touch mode provides more space between commands to optimize for use with touch.) Save 16% off Office 365 with a yearly subscription
  • The touchscreen on my laptop isn’t good enough to draw with pen or use in graphic programs like Adobe Photoshop (Free Trial) so I’ll have to think about that for next time.
  • Some web applications are better than others at recognizing touch. Right now I’m exploring different online planning tools for the classroom. Kanban tool lets you click and drag the cards around with your finger on the touchscreen, but Trello does not.
  • Touch is awesome. The coolest thing I’ve discovered is that you can swipe on Windows 10 with their mail app to quickly get through the emails. It’s like swiping on your phone – makes a little bit easier to archive and get to the daily grind. Maybe this year I won’t have 6000 unread messages by the end of June.

The Dell Inspirion 17 isn’t all fun and games.

  • I brought it into the classroom today and noticed that my new computer does not she have an old-school VGA port. Food for thought: if your school projector is old-school with no HDMI, might be something to think about before you invest in new hardware.
  • I went for the 17 inch big-screen because I like the screen real estate. I thought the weight wouldn’t matter but this laptop really is a brick.
  • Some teachers might miss having a DVD or CD drive to play movies in the classroom.

So why did I choose to invest in a touchscreen computer for my classroom? Because I want to improve marking efficiency.

My dream is to be able to talk and give student feedback directly into Google classroom and then just touch different parts of the screen instead of having to hunt around with my mouse.

Google classroom is getting better and better. I use it a lot last year and will continue to use it this year.

(Especially because apparently they listen to user feedback. My students and I gave feedback to Google directly from the app. I suggested that students needed a way to be able to sort or change the order of classes on the front screen and recently when Google rolled out this feature, they sent me an email saying hey just wanted to give you a heads up that we took your feedback and make some changes.)

The only thing I wish Google classroom had was an integrated marked book. Right now I’m checking out this Google Classroom gradebook add-on and it looks pretty cool for a paid add-on but the fact that it can import all of your marks from Google classroom and make pretty spreadsheets and pretty reports that you can send the parents that’s a huge time saver. Especially because it looks like you can email parents directly. Automated wow.

We’ll have to see how this touchscreen works, but hopefully it’s an improvement to getting descriptive feedback to students with informative comments about what they did well, what they need to improve on, and explicitly how to get there.

This post was written using Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15 and Microsoft Office 365. There are 646 words in this first draft. Dragon NaturallySpeaking made 12 word errors which you can see below. The voice recognition software got 98.1% of the words correct.

How good is New Dragon Professional Individual voice software?

My favourite voice recognition error in this blog post was where I said “improve marking efficiency” and Dragon software heard “improve marketing efficiency” – I guess sometimes we do need to sell our lessons better to our students…

But overall, getting 98% of the words in this document correct is pretty impressive. Here are the 12 dictation errors that Dragon made:

I said Dragon Professional Individual heard
Classroom technology is all about classroom technologies all about?
2 in 1 tablet two and one tablet

 

something to think about Something I think about
draw with pen draw with 10
The Dell Inspirion 17 The Dell in Sperry on 17

 

is an Isn’t
And will continue no continue
Automated wow. Automated while.
 improve marking efficiency  improve marketing efficiency