Microsoft Release New Surface Pro

Overnight Microsoft announced the new Surface Pro device, replacing the previous model Surface Pro 4. With this new model it appears that the numbering has gone, i.e. this is not a Surface Pro 5, rather it is simply known as a Surface Pro.

These are available for pre-order today from as low as NZ$1214,10 including GST for the entry level unit with student/educational pricing and this gets you an Intel Core M3 CPU, 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD. Here are some details from the ordering website:

Description

• Transforms from PC to tablet to Studio Mode

• Powerful Intel Core processor

• Create, study, work, and play virtually anywhere

• High-resolution PixelSense Display touchscreen

• Up to 13.5 hours of battery life²

• Ships by 15/6/2017

I know that a lot of schools were looking to replace the aging Surface 3 device and the above could be a great option for that. I’m particularly excited to see the 13.5hr battery life as that is something that students/teachers are demanding now in any device – all day battery life.

There has also been a focus on getting the device even flatter with the kick stand going to a “Surface Studio-like” degree for easier writing/drawing on the Surface Pro’s screen.

You can read the full release from Microsoft here

New Surface Pro Pen Video

Additional announcements relating to Office365 and tight integration with digital inking and touch, especially the Surface Pro range of devices, were announced in a separate blog that you can read here.

Digital Inking – Improves Teaching & Learning

Inking.PNG

I have visited a number of schools recently and demonstrated many of the natural hand gestures for editing and Ink Replay available in Office365 and the response is always very positive from teachers and students alike.

I have recently found the above infographic showing independent research from Sharon Oviatt, an expert in human centered and multi-modal interfaces and use of pen inputs on computers. I find that the numbers in the infographic resonate with teachers that I’ve been working with who are using Digital Inking to prepare student work, provide feedback and mark assessment.

When I was still at St Andrew’s College I recorded an interview with the Head of English and she explained how she marks English assignments using her Surface Pro 3 and digital ink:

DigitalPenUsageThere are many and varied compelling reasons to try Digital Inking and with a wider range of devices now supporting this, from entry level OEM offerings through to the newly announced Surface Laptop,  there is bound to be a device that meets your budget and requirements.

If you are interested in further research and information from Sharon Oviatt on the “power of the pen” then I encourage you to check out this blog from the Microsoft In Education team where it goes into more depth about the impact of computer interfaces on learning.

You can read the full blog post here.

Student Note Taking: Typing or Hand Writing?

I’ve written a few posts lately about the power of Digital Inking and ways to “Think in Ink”  and I am more convinced than ever that equipping students with devices that allow them to doodle, draw, annotate and just straight hand write notes and ideas is a necessity.

I know there is also the following quote from Microsoft promotional material:

Studies indicate that diagraming thinking before solving a science problem leads to a 25%-36% higher score

A quick search on the web reveals people doubt this but a link to the research findings can be found here. Tonight I read an article on LinkedIn titled:

What is a more effective way of taking notes – laptop or notepad?

As usual, I encourage you to read the entire thing yourself, it’s only a 3 minute read after all, and it talks about research completed in 2014 showing that students that hand wrote notes had far better conceptual comprehension of the content they had been taught compared to students who typed their notes up. Even when students who had typed their notes were given ten minutes to revise them before a test a week later, they still scored worse than those that had handwritten their notes in some way.

I’ve seen similar tests completed elsewhere so this finding is not new to me, however it certainly highlights the value of digital inking and usefulness of the basic “ruled lines” in OneNote:

OneNote.PNG

I find it interesting that when testing for factual recall, students scored the same whether they handwrote their notes or typed them, but only when testing for conceptual understanding did the differences emerge:

Typing-vs-paper.jpg

Again, do take time to read the original article and ponder how you record information in your daily life and if you’re a decision maker in a school, what devices are you recommending to your students to bring along.

Digital Inking – Get Graphing In OneNote!

OneNote-Graph-inking-GIF

It’s awesome to see the pace of new features coming out for Microsoft OneNote. It was only earlier this week that I was blogging about using Desmos for graphing and then with OneNote Clipping tool bringing the graph into OneNote.

Well, now this functionality exists in the OneNote Universal app natively!

Read the full blog post here from Microsoft

I decided to give this a test myself and see if works, and it did immediately:

maths

As per the blog, there are five steps to digitally inking graphs in OneNote:

Five steps to graph an equation in OneNote

  1. Begin by writing your equation. For example: y=x+3 or y=sin(x)+cos(2x).
  2. Next, use Lasso tool to select the equation and then, on the Draw tab, click the Math button.
  3. From the drop-down menu in Math pane, select the option to Graph in 2D. You can play with the interactive graph of your equation—use a single finger to move the graph position or two fingers to change the zoom level.
  4. Use + and buttons to change the values of the parameters in your equation.
  5. Finally, click the Insert on Page button to add a screenshot of the graph to your page.

For now, this is only available in the Universal OneNote app, not in the OneNote 2016 application that comes with Office 2016. This is a great new feature further highlighting the power of digital inking as well as the speed of evolution of the educational products in OneNote.

Think In Ink – Examples Of Digital Inking

Video

This is a good video showing the various ways that Digital Inking can be used in schools. These examples are taken from the Tanglin Trust School in Singapore and include ideas from:

  • Automatic citations using the OneNote Clipper and then annotating the content directly in OneNote.
  • Sketching scientific diagrams in OneNote to reinforce learning and ideas (in this example, around erosion).
  • Language features in English – highlighting verbs/adjectives in poetry.
  • Using the Learning Tools (Immersive Reader) to support literacy in all subjects.
  • Maths annotations by clipping graphs made in Desmos and then inking over the top of the graph in OneNote.
  • Ink Replay – learning the correct stroke order of Chinese characters by using Ink Replay and then attempting to replicate this in OneNote.

Editing With Natural Hand Gestures & Digital Inking

Over the last couple of years I have had innumerable conversations with teachers who love the power of OneNote for editing student work quickly and easily, especially when combining the digital inking experience on a tablet such as a Surface Pro. Perhaps the best example of this was the recorded conversation I had with the Head of English at St Andrew’s College:

I’ve been really excited to see that a couple of new editing features have been added to Word, Excel and PowerPoint in Office 2016 and these are:

  • Ink Editor – easily markup / remove text using natural hand gestures with your pen
  • Ink Replay – if you’ve made significant comments on a Word, Excel or PowerPoint document sometimes it can be hard for your fellow editor to understand your train of thought. With Ink Replay, they can watch your edits all over again.

I’ve made a short video showing how this can be achieved:

Sticky Notes Powered By Cortana Intelligence Suite:

Another cool feature of Windows 10 is the Sticky Notes. In and of themselves, they operate very similarly to sticky notes on any other operating system. However, you can now give them a real power boost by linking to the Cortana Intelligence Suite to give you insights and do more.

To do this, you first need to enable the insights:

sticky-notes

To leverage the power of Cortana you need to Enable Insights

Once this is done you can see the power immediately as demonstrated here:

Putting to one side the very clever intelligence that lies beneath the surface to enable things like Ink Editor and smart Sticky Notes, the real benefits here is the saving of time. Editing a document with natural hand gestures and a digital pen remains the most efficient method for most people. Similarly, having your natural handwriting analysed for key words or phrases and reminders generated speeds up some of the more mundane tasks we all have to deal with in life.

If you’ve not given these a go, try them out now and feel free to leave a comment below on any neat ways you’ve used this technology.