EdTech & Design

Bring a Pen Into the Digital Classroom With Wacom Drawing Tablets

Just a year ago, educators found themselves scrambling to prepare and deliver all-digital, all-remote teaching. It was often chaotic. Sometimes frustrating. And it’s taken time for educators and students alike to adapt and keep adapting as the situation evolves.

Teachers have long dealt with the challenge of keeping students engaged and on-task in face-to-face learning environments, but now, in fully remote and hybrid ones, the engagement challenge is even more significant.

The good news is there are tools that can help.

Digital pens and tablets have long been used for creative work, such as illustration and photo editing, and in animation houses, industrial design studios, and creative agencies. In the past several months, educators have discovered that Wacom digital pen tablets and displays can help them enhance both remote and in-class instruction in ways that engage students and inspire collaboration.

See it. Say it. Show it. Explain it.

Teachers know how important it is to keep students’ attention and explain concepts and ideas ‘in the moment.’ It’s hard to use a mouse, trackpad, and keyboard to write out mathematical and scientific formulas, make simple sketches and diagrams or annotate assignments. But all that changes with the addition of a pen tablet or display. Plug a Wacom into your computer, and you’ll instantly regain the ability to work freely by hand, just like you do in the classroom.

Here are just some of the many ways educators are using pen tablets to turn shared screens into compelling instruction:

  • Teachers can create visual images, explanatory diagrams, and annotations easily in real-time while working in the programs they already use, such as PowerPoint, Word, and collaborative environments such as the whiteboarding applications in Microsoft Teams and Zoom.
  • Teachers can mark-up and annotate PDFs to assess student work, explain assignments and answer questions during live instructional sessions.
  • Teachers can use digital pen colors and line weight to emphasize key points and reinforce key concepts and processes.
  • Teachers can create mind maps, outlines, sketches, and graphic organizers as they explain ideas or assignments to students…modeling ways to approach complex concepts for students

Play It Again. Learn It On Your Own Time.

These days, video plays a key role in making remote and hybrid learning successful in one of two primary ways; either by recording classroom sessions for students to review after class, or adapting a “flipped classroom” approach, and producing short instructional videos for students to review before class. For students who have limited access to live lessons, these video-based resources can help them keep up with schoolwork. Using a pen tablet for creating instructional videos gives teachers the ability to write or draw, so students can see the steps they’re taking as they work through a problem or activity… just as they would on a whiteboard or chalkboard in class.

In remote and hybrid learning environments, students often struggle with long texts. With instructional videos, teachers can use a pen tablet to create short and engaging visual lessons that give students ample opportunities to pause, reflect, rewind and review so that they can master concepts more easily.

Teachers Don’t Need to Be Artists!

While great teaching is an art, using a digital pen tablet to teach doesn’t require any artistic ability. A pen tablet is a tool that can free teachers to demonstrate more effectively, answer questions and dig into complex concepts in a way that feels natural and familiar and helps keep students engaged, participating, and collaborating. In addition to the tablet hardware itself, Wacom has included five bonus education software applications with its Wacom Intuos pen tablets and Wacom One pen display to make it easier for educators to integrate pen tablet tools into instruction.

Bonus Education Software Apps

Educators who purchase Wacom One pen displays or Wacom Intuos pen tablets will get free three-month professional subscriptions to five remote-ready apps:

  • Explain Everything offers an infinite canvas and audio and video recording tools to give educators a straightforward and feature-rich way to create whiteboard explainer videos.
  • Limnu provides an online whiteboard with integrated video conferences, so teachers and students can collaborate in real-time from any device.
  • Pear Deck gives teachers easy-access tools to build and launch interactive presentations within Google and Microsoft classroom tools.
  • Collaboard makes real-time collaboration simple and empowers teachers to draw on its digital whiteboard, add sticky notes, mark-up documents, images, videos, and more.
  • Kami gives teachers tools to transform existing documents (PDFs, text, images, etc.) into a canvas for expression or an interactive learning experience.

Wacom Resources for Educators

The Wacom eLearning Blog features articles, videos, and tutorials developed by teachers to give educators ideas about enriching remote and hybrid instruction. Learn about best practices for creating flipped classroom resources, and discover tips for creating engaging student videos and instructional presentations. Along with these resources, recorded educator-to-educator webinars, and eLearning

Getting Started videos and tutorials are available for on-demand viewing here.

Imagine the Possibilities

Digital pen and tablet solutions can help make remote, hybrid, and traditional onsite teaching and learning easier to create and deliver and will help make instruction more engaging for students across the curriculum. Wacom also provides institutional pricing and support for schools and universities interested in equipping faculty and students with distance learning tools. Contact us for more information and pricing discounts.