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Gifts that Made a Difference
Eller Moves Forward with Tablets from HP Grant
The Eller College completed its first semester using tablet PCs donated by HP as part of a $74,000 grant last year. Courses in the marketing department and Business Communication program used the HP tablets in the initial pilot last fall.
This semester, Eller IT will launch the second phase of the project in MIS, where teaching assistants will use tablet PCs to streamline research and work with databases. The teaching assistants will first attend a day-long seminar to learn about tablet PC functionality and instructional technology.
Unlike notebook computers, tablet PCs allow users to write directly on screen, similar to the "notes" function on many PDAs. Last semester, students were able to download slides for lessons from their Blackboard accounts and add handwritten notes directly to the slides during class. Similarly, as instructors present slides in class, they can quickly jot down information arising from class discussion, then save the more complete slides and make them available for download. The screens of tablet PCs also swivel 180 degrees and fold down flat, making it easy for users to share work and deliver presentations to small groups without a projector.
While next semester will conclude the HP tablet initiative, faculty and staff are encouraging students to adapt tablet technology over the traditional notebooks that students are now strongly encouraged to use, said Lance Hoopes, information technology manager at the Eller College. Eller IT is working with College partner Gateway Computers to promote tablet awareness not only at the University, but in high schools as well. As part of that effort, the College will co-host an education event with Gateway on Feb. 10 to familiarize faculty and staff from colleges and K-12 schools throughout Southern Arizona with tablet PC applications.
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