A Microsoft Surface Tablet is a complete mobile computer, larger than a mobile phone. It often uses an onscreen virtual keyboard or a digital pen as well as a physical keyboard. The Microsoft Surface tablets are an advantage for teaching and research because you can draw on the screen. They are ultra-thin, fast, and versatile, the perfect balance of portability and power.
The Surface comes with a full Windows 10 operating system and, if obtained via the university, will have the university version of Windows 10 installed. Login as usual and use the Surface like any Windows laptop. The optional pen is extremely accurate and can be used to annotate PowerPoint slides during a presentation or as a digital whiteboard. You can connect the Surface to a lecture theatre lectern via an adapter or connect wirelessly to any teaching space using Zoom.
Some possible actions that a tablet will allow:
Annotation on PowerPoint
Windows calls its in-built annotation tool Windows Ink, it is automatically enabled when you use your Surface pen. Once you have started your PowerPoint presentation you can simply write on the screen with the pen to annotate your slides. If you want to have space in your presentation for a class discussion where you capture ideas, you can insert a blank slide in the appropriate space. The blank page acts as a digital whiteboard where you can record responses or expand on ideas. You can save the annotated PowerPoint and upload it to Blackboard at the end of the class. If you are recording your lecture with VStream, students will be able to view the annotations by watching the screen capture of the lecture.
Zoom screen sharing
Zoom can be used to share your screen with the teaching computer in a learning space. This means that you can connect wirelessly to the room projector or large screen display. You can use the touchscreen to control a PowerPoint presentation and you can use the pen to annotate your slides. Zoom has a built in Whiteboard tool that you can use during class discussions or brain-storming. Using Zoom means that you are not tethered to a lectern and the tablet form factor makes it easy to move around the class and engage your students.
Digital White Board
The Surface allows you to write naturally on the screen which makes it ideal for use as a digital whiteboard. There are several tools you can use for Whiteboarding. As mentioned above you can use blank slides in PowerPoint or the whiteboard screen share option in Zoom. You can also install the Microsoft Whiteboard from the Windows Store or use the in-built Sketchpad. Experiment yourself to find a solution that works for your application or contact your Learning Technologist for advice.
Online marking in Blackboard
You can use the pen to annotate online student submissions in Blackboard Box View. This is especially useful when giving feedback in disciplines where symbols, notation and diagrams are common as they are not easy to insert with a keyboard and mouse.
Talk to one of our learning and teaching team about using a surface tablet in your teaching.