Tablet PCs for Students

I’ve always been intrigued with tablet PCs, but could never really see how the tool could move me past paper and pens. The other day a patient told me about how he uses Microsoft’s OneNote on a tablet PC. He records the lecture through OneNote and an external USB microphone. Then he takes handwritten notes in OneNote. Throughout the lecture, OneNote matches his notes to audio points in the recorded lecture. Not sure what the teacher said when you were scribbling the diagram? Just have OneNote playback the lecture at the point when the drawing began! Here’s a video of the process.

Imagine the possibilities if a decent recording could be coupled with decent-quality snapshots of the teacher’s PowerPoint slides! Not only would your notes be searchable when it’s time to sit down and review them, but the lecturer’s comments can quickly be replayed.

Backing up your notes just got easier as Microsoft’s Live Mesh offers 5GB of backup storage space for free. Time that puppy to synch with Windows Live Foldershare, and the thought of tablet/notes theft is far less daunting.

Wanna be totally paperless? If any teachers are still giving out handouts, the ScanSnap510 sheet-feed scanner by Fujitsu is the answer. Go back to the dorm room and throw those handouts in the hopper. This scanner does both sides of the page at 3 seconds per page. The price is a little steep (~$400), but it may be worth it to some students who either want to be totally paperless or have all of their notes in one place. (For light loads, maybe something slower and cheaper will do the trick?)

Tablet PCs cost too much, right? Well, every student going to college has to get a laptop these days, so most people are spending $500-$800 (maybe more – a LOT more if they bought a Mac) or so for their darling’s laptop. This blog entry claims that the student will spend at least $100 each year in office supplies, expenses that could be nullified by tablet PC use. After a couple of years, that puts the total cost in the tablet range, so it may not be that much more to have a searchable, archivable, and sharable notetaking system after all.

2 Responses to “Tablet PCs for Students”

  1. Tablet PC’s are indeed a valuable student companion. I have long been waiting to purchase a Tablet PC. I am now in the market for one. Check out my blog for more updates on my adventures into the world of Tablet PCs and mobile computing in general.

  2. The tablet PC main target market was the medical marketplace when it was conceived several years ago. Still, the break even point on the investment is high for the computer makers since the expectation in the marketplace is it would be the same cost as a standard notebook and these companies work on such small margins, they dont have the development funds to develop the high sellers, let alone the low sellers. Another market place that tablets are used are on the street surveys, but that is a small small market. I go to my doctor and they use this everytime. Can you imagine where a student goes to class, takes a test on thier tablet, sends it in. When it hits the school server, it checks the test (multiple choice) and it sends the test taker an email by the time they exit the classroom. Pretty Cool