My dear readers, all 5 of you (OK, I think it's more like 20, but let's not get pretentious here), I need a little piece of advice.
This September, in London and Brighton, I saw something which caught my interest. For the first time, I saw a tablet PC. Oh, I have known about and probably seen the tablets, but I have never before seen one that was both a lap-top and a tablet, depending on what you did with it.
One of the things I have always wanted to do, was have the opportunity to write or draw on the monitor while I am projecting the image to a screen. The main reason why I want this is so that I can have the flexibility of a blackboard while the presentation stays connected to the internet and while I can show pictures, play soundfiles and show movie clips. Today, teaching is a busy running back and forth to turn light on, turn off projector, pull screen up, write, draw, turn projector on, pull screen down, turn light off... you get the drift. Now this DOES wake up any students who might have fallen asleep while the lights were down, but it steals valuable time and focus from what I want to be an integrated, seamless, lecturing experience.
But while I have been able to dig up good reviews of the machines, particularly the Toshiba I am looking lustily at these days, I have not been able to figure out if there is software that will let me perform the tasks I desire. Does the software for integrated show-and-write exist, like for instance "powerpoint blackboard?" Not being such a very accomplished manipulator of software, fancy, complicated combinations are not an option, and programming is totally out of the question. I need a fairly simple interface which will let me change the image while I am in the middle of a presentation - draw on the slide I am showing, push the slide up into the corner and draw out a modell which relates to the bulletpoints I just presented, put in a whole new page to illustrate a question.
I am aware that an option is to have two programs running, and go out of the presentation when I want to use the other program. But here is the smooth and fluid thing again. Leaving the presentation is so inelegant, and as youthfullness and freshness dwindles, elegance is my best bet ;-)
So, dear readers, you software savvy and tech-accomplished - is it worth it to use my goodwill with the department to get a tablet PC in order to do what I am looking for, or will that be a waste of money for a half-assed lap-top which is too flimsy for the kind of hard use I expect from computers and still does not perform as I want it?