Tech Blog Reviews iPad Styluses

photo of Wacom Bamboo stylus

The Verge, a popular technology blog, recently reviewed different styluses available for the iPad, iPhone and other touch screen devices. While touch screens have revolutionized computing, many desire to have the familiarity of a pen, especially while writing. Today there are many options available, but often it’s hard to know how they are different. The Verge’s post,The best stylus for iPad: we review the hits and misses, breaks down how each stylus feels to use and even selects which ones are best of writing, diagramming and “quick scribbling”.

Here at the law school, we have several faculty members that are using styluses on their iPads. For example, Professor Henry Hecht uses an Alupen stylus to write on his slide presentations during class. Also, Professor Herma Hill Kay uses the iPad as a digital whiteboard and while she opts to use her finger to write, a stylus could be very helpful in her situation as well. We in, Instructional Technology tend to favor the Alupen, the Griffen stylus and more recently the Wacom Bamboo Stylus, although we haven’t tested as many as the editors of The Verge. We tend to have one or two on hand, so if you would like to test one out, we encourage you to stop by our offices, or email jikeda@law.berkeley.edu .

Polling Students with Clickers: Professor Weissman Polls Students on the Future of Nuclear Power.

Professor Weissman taking a poll in his class.A multiple choice question appears on the projector and all of the sudden you hear the clicking of 34 different remotes — each click representing a vote from a student in the class. Steve Weissman stands in the front of the class and after he closes the poll a chart is displayed on the screen. The results are surprising. After a short moment, Weissman initiates an engaging discussion about the results.

Weissman teaches Energy Regulation and the Environment and several other courses here at UC


The Pros and Cons of Smart Phones in the Classroom

Image taken from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Group_of_smartphones.jpg

Campus Technology has a very interesting article on how smartphones can be both a teaching tool and a distraction to students. Titled, Smartphones: Teaching Tool or Brain Candy?, they discuss how faculty can use phones as a asset teaching while giving ideas for managing phones in the classroom.

Here at UC Berkeley law we have a slightly different situation. Since almost all students have laptops, smartphones or tablets, faculty members must deal with these kinds of technology questions daily. While a smart phone  may signify a distracted student, it could also show that a student is researching a topic, or making a note to themselves about something in class. We tend t0 think of these devices as being used for social/entertainment purposes and may not be aware of what kind of potential they have as productivity and learning devices. It’s important to communicate to students what your expectations are for their use of technology in your class. Is it ok for them google search topics in class, or even use Wikipedia?


Digital Teacher’s Tool Kit: Flash Drive

Digital Teacher’s Tool Kit: Flash Drive
Small, Portable, Storage

flash drive image

Before class begins, a professors walks into his classroom to set up. Having requested a laptop from Media Services, he finds it set up on the podium, plugged in and ready to go. With only a few minutes before class begins, he quickly pulls out his flash drive, plugs it into the computer and a couple seconds later has his Powerpoint on the screen ready to go.