One of the very first posts on EdTechTV 5 years ago was an encouragement to look at going paperless for 2013. Over that time I’ve had a lot of people tell me I was out of my mind, jump in the deep end of the digital pool, or if they are more like me – they shuffle back and forth.
An area of particular interest to me is how people bridge the analog/digital gap. Many – very fairly – believe that both paper and digital resources have value. I couldn’t agree more. To that end, I’m looking to give the occasional overview of tools people can use to help them connect the two.
On January 1st, 2018, keep an eye out for episode 50 of the EdTechTV Podcast where I cover several solutions to this problem.
As a pre-cursor, I made a quick video covering Wacom’s Bamboo Slate. An option for any teacher who just wants to write on paper without being bothered, but who also would like to transfer those notes over to a digital format without all the muss and fuss of scanning.
Let’s take a look:
I have to admit I was a bit wary about the slate after looking at the reviews on Amazon (currently 3 stars). Complaints are all over the map and don’t seem to be consistent from one reviewer to another. I usually take that as a semi-reliable indicator of user error over a problem with the product itself.
Reviews for the app are even more aggressive (2 stars on the Apple App Store), but again, I have yet to run into the problems that people are bringing up.
What I was looking for – and feel relatively satisfied that I have found – in the Bamboo Slate was a no-frills way to take notes quickly and without any hassle, and then to be able to upload it into digital format quickly to move to my platform of choice.
The Bamboo Slate lets you do just that for $99. Compare that to the Boogie Board Sync for $79. These are essentially the same product, but the Slate allows you to write on actual paper, so if you lose your digital files, you still have the paper ones on hand. With the Boogie Board, once you “clear the screen” those notes are only available in the digital ether, so you have to ask yourself whether $20 is worth the safety of a physical backup. Voters’ Rights organizations sure seem to think it’s important.
Admittedly, $99 still seems like a bit much to digitize your notes and it could be a dissuading factor for many teachers who could literally buy 99 notepads for the same price and just not lose them. But the idea of being able to jump right into your Dropbox or Google Drive account is something worth considering.
If you’ve already converted to a fully digital note-taking style, this is not for you. I don’t see a reason to go back if you are satisfied working on an iPad pro or just on your laptop. But if you’ve never found the plastic nub to glass as satisfying as a ballpoint on paper, Bamboo Slate may be what you’ve been looking for.