Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More on Note Taking with One Note

On the Student Tablet PC, Robert posts on Note Taking using the Cornell method in One Note. It is a good reference.

More on Electronic Grading and Mark-up

Jim Vanides from HP is at it again with Tablet PC tip #3, this time on electronic grading or mark up. I posted a comment with links to some posts in this blog. What I didn't point out is how unreliable digital ink markup in Microsoft Word is. It is too easy to find times where the typed words and the ink marks do not connect and stay together. Circle a word in MS Word and make changes in the document and many times that circle is still there, just no longer around the original word. I can't work with that uncertainty. The PDF markup software, MS Journal and even One Note are far superior.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Bluebeam Revu prefered over Adobe Acrobat and PDF Annotator?

Bluebeam Revu site
Bluebeam Revu discount(from Student Tablet PC blog)
Bluebeam Revu review (from Got to Be mobile blog)

PDF Annotator (from my previous post)

(links fixed 10/24/07)

Last Friday I downloaded Bluebeam Revu which is a PDF creator, has a PDF print driver, and has great annotating and markup tools. I think this could kill off Adobe Acrobat Pro from my computer and has seriously pushed to the back my previous purchase of PDF Annotator. I really like how it works and the pen tools are quite good. At first I disliked the highlighter until I discovered you can toggle it between highlighting the text and just marking up with a highlighter. This software is designed for me and the way I work. It installs a toolbar in Microsoft Office, but I can not yet figure how to get it to be the default viewer in Internet Explorer. It atomatically installs in the "SEND TO" option of the right click options in explorer. You can right click on a word document, or any document, and choose to open in PDF ala Bluebeam Revu. I do not use AutoCAD, but it you do there is a premium version to support that program.

For now I think this will replace both Acrobat and PDF Annotator, but until I am sure, I will keep both of those on here as well. So far the only thing I really do not like is their ico file. Perhaps I am just way too used to seeing the Adobe Acrobat icon in my directory listings, but I suspect it has to do with my love of red and not that shade of blue. Try it and let me know what you think. Download here.

Traveling with the great HP 2710p Tablet PC

Hello all.

James Kendrick is posting on how his HP 2710p is doing on the road. Previously he made a video while showing you the computer and the ultra slim battery and the ultra slim expansion base with DVD burner. Today he is giving more details about his use which is remarkably similar to my experience. I can attest that on my trip this month to Savannah the HP was quite the traveller. I packed the HP2710p, an extended battery, the HP2710p 6-cell Ultra-slim battery, and the Ultra-slim Expansion Base. I had the power cable and the connector cable for my Palm Treo which was my EV-DO modem for the five days. I never ran out of battery the entire time I was traveling. I had the tablet on at each airport and during the flights. I stowed the Ultra-slim Expansion Base on one side of the divider in my carryon bag and the tablet with the Ultra-slim Battery attached in the other side which I came to realize was unnecessary. When I got to my seat, the small Tablet with battery easily fit in the seat back in front of me and my bag up above my head. Nothing beats a Tablet PC for use on the plane in those cramped spaces unless it is a smaller format and light Tablet PC such as the HP 2710p. At one point I saw the battery indicator show 11.5 hours with the extended battery attached.

Since we at the University of Akron still use MS Windows XP, James comments on Vista are noteworthy: "HP has gotten the Vista experience done nicely on the 2710p and it shows in mobile settings. I have no problems with Sleep and Resume like I have on every other mobile PC running Vista, a testament to how tightly HP has integrated Vista into the 2710p. I can literally pull the HP out, do email and whatever else I need to do and put the 2710p back in the bag in a minute. That's the way this sort of thing is supposed to work and I am very happy with how well it works." -- James Kendrick (at this post). This tells me that the HP 2710p will be just fine for our transition to Windows Vista.
Upon ariving in our room at the Hyatt Savannah it was easy to connect to my Palm Treo and at 247.5 kbps I was connected to the internet and could stay in touch with my graduate assistants and my students while in GA, download my mail and log into our course management system and of course DyKnow Vision. I really like this computer, the HP 2710p, possibly more than any other computer I have ever owned.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Mankiw's Ten Principles Translated (with Humor)

Yoram Bauman is the standup economist and has a great you tube presentation of Mankiw's tem principles. If you don't have a sense of humor do not click play below.

And you might be an economist if ...

Found on GMU econ societies blog.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Milton Freedman Free to Choose Video Available

Here is a great teaching tool for your classes. Many of the resources we give our students are digital and served to student through course management systems and web page links. Add now the Free To Choose videos now freely available and streamed from IdeaChannel.TV. All 10 volumes from the series in 1980 and as revised in 1990 are available.

Whether you are a Milton Freedman fan or not you will also benefit from the two interviews at as well. You can listen as Milton Freedman talks to Russ Roberts about his life and the "radical ideas he put forward almost 50 years ago in Capitalism and Freedom.

These two technologies of streaming video and MP3 podcasts and the easy way we can introduce these to our students give advantages to our students that I could have only wished I had when reading Milton and others during my schooling. The things Milton said 50 years ago are still incredibly relevant.

A school that certainly lives this legacy is George Mason and Arnold Kling writes in about being a Masonomist (is that a George Mason-economist?). Read his "So You Want to be a Masonomist" here. He says in part "Years from now, perhaps people will be saying that something big got started recently at the George Mason University department of economics. Maybe if you become a Masonomist now, you will be getting in early on a trend that will soon catch on much more widely. " I think they are indeed on to something.

More later.

Midwest Conference on Student Learning in Economics, 2007 edition cancelled.

The Midwest Conference on Student Learning in Economics for Fall 2007 is cancelled. The reason is not lack of interest, but lack of local resources. We appreciate all of the emails and interest about the conference and will do it again.

Formerly, we announced that the MWC would be held on November 15-16, 2007. Currently, plans are being examined to hold this in the 2008 time frame. It will have all of the features you are used to in the 2003, 2004 and 2005 conferences including being the number one conference in economics when it comes to a focus on instructional technology. One thought is to possibly hold this in conjunction with our annual Grunberg Memorial Lecture which has featured Nobel Laureates as 14 of its 16 speakers. When the dates are again announced we will release a call for papers as well.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Active Learning and Everyday Economic Statistics

Back from Savannah, one of the most beautiful cities in the US. What a great time there. We attended the International Atlantic Economic Society annual meetings and I presented in a session on active learning put together by Paul Hettler of California University of PA. Four of us presented papers on techniques we are using in our classes. Paul presented on a hybrid team-based learning design, Gerald on a cooperative learning / online design and I presented my Problem Based Learning in Econometrics paper.

I was pleased to see Gary Clayton of Northern Kentucky University there and to get a chance to meet him. Gary has a great book called Everyday Economic Statistics which I use in my required undergraduate Computer Skills for Economic Analysis class. He also has a very supportive website at If you do not know about it it is worth checking out.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Whiteboarding with Tablet PCs in the Classroom

Jim Vanides of HP and author of the blog Teaching, Learning & Technology in Higher Education has placed two videos on his site so far. In the first he shows how a teacher in a classroom can annotate a PowerPoint session. In the second he suggests that MW Journal is better than PowerPoint in the classroom. I agree Jim, but PPT has its useful place as well. Both of his videos are great and I embed them here for you to see. Don't forget to go read his blog as well.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

How to take notes on a notebook computer

While I prefer a Tablet PC, this article by Caleb Schmerge at TabletPCReview is a nice overview of notetaking. I think he overlooks Microsoft Journal and DyKnow Vision is beyond his review, but I agree on his fondness of OneNote. I did a Comparison of Notetaking Software which you might find instructive.

I'm more sold than ever on the mobile learning technology environment.

I got my HP2710p Tablet PC a couple weeks ago and my first impression was it's small and light and it's so different than my Gateway M285E. I liked things about my Gateway that I was about to sacrifice. The Gateway has a large beautiful screen, higher resolution, a better video card, built in DVD, and a heftier processor. I wasn't sure I wanted to leave it behind. But it was always too heavy and that made me use it like the desktop replacement it was designed to be, besides even with the 12 cell battery it seemed to run down fast.

But now I am sold. My lightweight tablet leaves the DVD behind in the dock and the extra battery extends the useful life to 6.5 or 7 hours (although I admit I have not had it long enough to properly evaluate this.) Yes it is underpowered relative to the Gateway, but it doesn't draw the battery down and it doesn't get hot. Yes it is underpowered, but only on intensive programs or when I have way too many windows open do I notice it.

It is so small and light I can hold and carry it in one hand without fatigue. I find I am using it more, not less. Even my bag feels lighter which is good for my shoulder.

What I like the most is the extra battery and the dock. I can leave both on my desk or take in my bag. They are both flat and fit on the bottom of the 2710p making it like a thicker and heavier Tablet. So I think of it like the heavy all inclusive Gateway, but if I don't need the DVD I can snap off the thin flat bottom and leave on my desk. If I don't need my extra battery, which also fits like a second bottom on the 2710p, off it comes. What is great (and I suspect this is true of all extra batteries) is that the external runs down first and charges last. That way if I am on a plane trip, after the external runs down I can snap it off store it in the bag and enjoy a full charge on the light tablet.
I had much to dislike about this HP 2710p tablet, but the more I use it the more I am sold. Still I wish the university had bid bluetooth, because I really miss it not being built in. I highly recommend this Tablet PC, the HP2710p.

I also compared this tablet to my wife's HP TX1000. I really like hers, I like the touch screen, but hers is harder to write on. She says writing on the 2710p is much easier and smooth. Nevertheless, if you are interested in a sweet consumer tablet with all the bells and whistles ... try out the TX series from HP. HP certainly has a couple of winners here. As to the HP2710p, I certainly hope the UA digital ink group ( and the rest of the over 400 faculty who have chosen a Tablet PC this Fall) will be happy with it.

Laptops Owned by 74% Students, But how many are Tablet PCs?

Use it or lose it.
That is use technology well or lose your students....

Some time ago I posted that students wanted professors to use technology, but only if they used it well. Here comes a new follow up report to the one cited back then. The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Student and Information Technology, 2007 by Gail Salaway and Judith Borreson Caruso is posted to the educause website in Sept. 2007. The report is a longitudinal followup of the 2004, 2005 and 2006 studies and reports significant findings. 98% of students have a computer with 74% owning a laptop (up from 53% in 2005). I am sadden that they do not ask, or report how many are buying and owning Tablet PCs. Not a single question about whether the professor uses digital ink or if they do. Come on ECAR ask next year PLEASE! Anyone know these numbers? Anyone know how many professors use Tablet PCs in the classrooms?

Do students bring laptops to class? Weekly for 25%, while 53% never bring the laptop to class. OF course without the pen, why do you need a laptop in class? Could most of the 25% be Tablet PCs? Could half?

58.2% of the students thing their instructors do use technology well.
13.6% of the students think their instructors do not use technology well.

60.9% of students agree that IT improves their learning in courses.
40.4% of students agree that they are more engaged in courses requiring the use of IT (20.8% disagree)

Based on the findings ECAR thinks these observations merit further consideration:
  1. Instructor Skill with IT greatly impacts student perception of the value of IT in their courses.
  2. The curriculum matters when it comes to student use and skill with technology.
  3. IT in courses is about convience. (Students are frustrated when online resources are slow, unavailable or not user-friendly.)
  4. Students prefer a moderate amount of technology in courses.
  5. Students are increasingly mobile.
  6. Students expect IT to be worthwhile.

So next year ECAR ... ask about Tablet PCs and digital ink software like DyKnow and classroom presenter.