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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Teaching Mathematics With a Surface Pro Tablet

This week I am hosting some guest bloggers. This is a guest post from Bryan Davis.

For the last 6 years I have done all of my teaching on a tablet Windows PC. I have really liked using the tool for these reasons. I can have a digital copy of all of my lessons sync to all of my computers and be instantly searchable. Since my lesson was already digital I could easily upload it to my website. I could use any computer program (graphing utilities, geometric or algebraic drawing utilities, Excel, and more) in my lesson seamlessly.

But up until last year there was a drawback. I could never leave my podium for a couple of reasons. First, the computer did not have a way to wirelessly stream the video output to the projector. Also, the computer was not small enough to just pick up and walk around with using only one hand.

One of the best things about technology is how the tools we use are constantly changing. Last year I updated my school computer to a Surface Pro 2. The portability of this computer is incredible! I was inspired to look into ways of untethering myself from my podium. I originally used the software program AirParrot to send the video to my Apple TV. And while that solution was good, it was rather processor intensive and would drain the battery pretty quickly. Just recently I started using a Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter, which Windows 8 natively supports (the streaming stick uses the Miracast wireless streaming protocol). This setup has a much smaller drain on my battery which means more time away from my podium!

So now I walk around the classroom and have the ability to project anything I want on my screen. I use the camera to show student work directly from the desk of the student. I give my lesson from the front, middle and back of the class, sitting down anywhere to do my thing. I can quickly show any computer tool to help explain a concept. This tool has helped me be a better teacher.


Additional Resources:
Tablet PC List
Examples of Posted Lessons


About Bryan: I am a teacher of math, physics, and engineering at Healdsburg High School in beautiful Northern California. I have been teaching for 10 years. I have also had jobs as a software engineer and a test engineer. But my passion is education. I have really been trying to take elements of play and bring it into my classroom. Watch children play… they will try something, they might fail, but they fail safely. And then they try something else. And they will keep trying until they are successful. Isn’t that also what we want to see in our classrooms? I like to believe that this addition of play in my classroom is visible and making a difference for students.