I’m seeing a wide range of devices aimed at the education market these days in my job with Microsoft and BYOD in particular is getting increasing choice of really good hardware designs.
One option that has stood out the most to me as a real benefit for students was a laptop with a built in handle that retracted into the spine of the laptop. I actually did not notice this for over a week after I received the laptop but now I use it all the time when moving the device around. Here are a few pictures of it:
View from underneath the laptop with the handle fully retracted, it is flush in line with the spine of the laptop.
Viewed from above, the handle is pulled out.
Viewed from “behind” the device with the screen closed. The handle automatically retracts into place when released.
Holding the laptop naturally with the handle taking the full weight of the device.
The other neat feature of this device is that it actually has a loop for the stylus attached to the keyboard side of the laptop (not the screen) as well as a lanyard tie to the loop on the laptop so the pen is always attached and can not be lost:
It’s small design features like this that can add significant value to students in the BYOD market and it’s great to see innovations like this happening.
If you have seen a great feature on a device recently, leave a note in the comments explaining what it was and why you think it added real value to the device.
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.
There 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.