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Wireless Tablet Interface Review by Heidi Miller-FordCalifone
1145 Arroyo Ave. #A
San Fernando, CA 91340
As a teacher, do you find it difficult to make large-group presentations in a classroom because you need to stay near the computer? Would you love to be able to make sketches or notes and enlarge images or capture screenshots while using a computer projector? Califone's Wireless Tablet Interface makes all of this possible while enabling you to walk around the room and interact with your students. This little tablet opens up a variety of options for anyone presenting to a group and perhaps even to a single student.
The tablet itself is lightweight and no bigger than a Kindle or Nook. It will allow the user to wirelessly control the computer desktop from up to 50 feet away. If it is connected to a projector or whiteboard, the learning opportunities are endless. The buttons on the left side of the tablet allow the device to be used as a PC mouse to go up, down, left, right, previous and next page, close current applications, switch applications, Esc, and clear handwriting. The right side has on-screen operations that allow the device to write on the whiteboard/desktop and control several functions such a magnification of the screen, resizing the window, opening a clock/timer, recording the whiteboard sessions, and saving a snapshot of the current screen. There are several different preset pen colors to choose from and many more in the Settings menu.
The whole setup is very quick. I had it up and running in no time at all. Califone's customer service is very good and ready to handle any questions or technical difficulties that arise. I do not own a projector, so I was only able to use it on my desktop. I simply pulled out the stylus, which is stored on the tablet itself, and was able to control my computer's desktop from across the table. I could magnify Web pages, circle specific text with the pen, erase all my marks with one tap, open and close windows, and much more.
At first I didn't see a use for this in a homeschool setting and thought it would be best in classrooms and co-ops, which is what it was developed for. But as I started to play with it, I realized how great it could be in a small group or even one-on-one setting. My son does not like to read information on a website or other programs on the computer. He finds it boring; I think the amount of information on a page is just too overwhelming. This product would solve that problem. I could use the pen function to circle specific information on a page to help him focus. I could literally black out everything around an area on the page/website, making it even easier for him to concentrate on what I wanted him to learn. I could hand the tablet to him and tell him to find and circle certain information, which would be much more motivating that just reading and telling me about it. For a student with learning disabilities, this tablet could actually make computer learning fun with its multisensory approach.
If you are working with several small groups, you could use more than one tablet at a time. There are 18 frequency channels available, making it possible for several groups to use these without interference. The students would be actively engaged and able to participate much more than with just a lecture.
The package comes with the following items:
- Wireless Interface Tablet (for Windows only)
- USB Receiver
- Two AA rechargeable batteries
- 3-foot USB cord
- Installation CD
- User Manual
This tablet was actually a lot of fun to use. As a former public school teacher, I could definitely see this being an enhancement to presentations in a classroom setting. As a homeschool parent, I can see the benefits of using this with children to make computer learning easier and more interactive. It's definitely worth looking into if you want to make your students more involved in learning with technology.