Tablet PCs Stake Out Higher Education

by Paul McCloskey

The new Tablet PCs from Microsoft and a host of PC manufacturers were announced with the usual coast-to-coast fanfare as the next big thing in personal computing. And while that is always the hope and the hype in such smash announcements, for the higher education community, it just might be true.
That’s because seldom has there been a new computer introduced that seems more in tune with both the way business is conducted and the nature of the workers in a single professional community. In this case, the actors are teachers and students, true information nomads moving from one learning oasis to another, receiving multiple daily presentations, engaging in bursts of collaboration, then moving on and synthesizing their experience in periodic reports.

For each of those traits or activities, the new Tablet PC appears to offer support and real innovation where its predecessor, the hardworking laptop, sometimes falls short. The most striking of these differences, especially for the higher-education community, is the Tablet’s ability to give users the power to incorporate free handwriting into the personal computing experience.

“The Tablet combines all the power of the desktop with notepaper and the ability to take notes,” says John

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