I LOVE me a good doc cam. Considering I started my teaching career with only a blackboard – no projector, no whiteboard (and this was 2014!!) – I’ve been on the path to find the perfect, cheap classroom tech that works best for me and my students. For in-person teaching there is seriously nothing better than a doc cam. But that’s not what this blog post is about. This is about my new love: my Wacom drawing tablet.
My twin sister and my roommate from college are both TAing this semester for their Master’s programs, so naturally they came to me for all the Zoom tips and tricks. Their biggest block was how to share and annotate their slides.
I share my screen every single day in every single class and use the “annotate” function on Zoom. I usually do this by sharing a specific window on my screen or using Zoom’s “whiteboard feature.”
If you’ve ever tried the whiteboard feature with your mouse or laptop trackpad, you’re probably still recovering from carpal tunnel. It’s immediately SO painful.
Enter the Wacom.
I just happened to have a Wacom before distance learning. I’ve never used it so much as I do now! It connects via bluetooth and acts essentially as a mouse.
It’s been a game-changer for distance learning. I now take notes with it and just screen shot the notes and share them on Google Classroom for my students. It’s a seamless process. I’ll always love my doc cam, but for iffy wifi connections, this provides a clearer image. And in many cases, it can actually be cheaper than a doc cam. The one I have was about $90 when I bought it, but you can get a version for about $50. It was pretty easy to get used to writing on the blank tablet while looking at the screen. The one tiny issue I’ve noticed is it works best without your dual screen – so I simply unplug my 2nd monitor when it’s time to take notes.
Ultimately my sister and friend are both going to use their iPads, but if you aren’t lucky enough to have one, consider investing in a Wacom!