At school: Here are some ways in which I have found my tablet useful in school.
Highlight. Make cross-references. Textbooks can be purchased online (instant access) and can be licensed for 3 months to forever. WizeUP is an online company that is really pushing digital textbooks. They have only 126 books right now, but use an easy and intuitive GUI, and provide security features to avoid unlawful duplication of texts (www.wizeup.com). This program could easily be assimilated into the tablet GUI or a similar program can be made for the tablet. Many other manufacturers are also creating electronic textbooks (Harcourt College, etc.). The nice thing about having a text on the computer is that you can pull figures into your Journal document, and it will automatically put the reference in the figure or after the text. It also allows you to write notes on the figures in the e-textbook. The internet desktop layout gives you fast access to a dictionary, search engine, etc. Put these tools on one machine, and you’ll never want to stop learning. A recent article was made querying students on how much they’d be willing to pay to use e-texts (http://www.futureprint.kent.edu/acrobat/wearden02.pdf). Note again that e-texts would only be a small part of the unit as a whole.
Other ways of integrating work in the classroom:
Many professors have online copies of presentations or notes that you can download and expound on. This is especially helpful if you need to insert spaces into the notes he or she hands out in class. You can also scan handouts into notes in 20-30 seconds using ultra portable scanners or even cameras ( although more development for camera oriented ocr is needed). This allows you to, again, add details to the outlines handed out or save a copy of class worksheets on your comp for reference (maybe even use a pen that writes on paper but still is magnetic, so you can simultaneously write something on the computer). You then have your documents in one organized place.
It’s a fact, taking notes via writing helps improve retention:
When forming a memory, people associate different senses with that particular memory: Sight, sound, touch, even smell and taste play into making an imprint on the brain. Although most computer do not have the ability to emulate smell, the tablet PC helps foster learning by, among other things, retaining the act of fine motor control to formulate words and sentences: Simply writing something out on paper, or this case, on the tablet, helps reinforce memory patterns. Couple that with the ability to then take that handwriting and send it as an email in its original form or in ASCII text, and not only can you take notes in a memorable way, using your own handwriting, in multiple colors, and using flags quickly access and identify important concepts, but you can share them easily over long distances, with fewer tools (i.e. scanner, printer, or fax).
Using the audio recording functionality of the tablet, if I need a quick reference to something I missed in lecture, I just replay my notes because sometimes you just can’t ask the professor to repeat something.
Digital audiobooks or e-books (other than e-textbooks) could be used to lighten the load on students’ backs and keep things in one place so they won’t lose their books anymore or ever forget them at school.
– especially handy for cross-referencing, etc.