I've posted in the past about the search for a good way for educators to digitize their handwriting using a wireless tablet. This is useful for disciplines like math, chemistry, economics, etc where they need to be able to write out numbers, problems, or graphs but they may want to project it rather than write on a whiteboard (maybe they have a big class who couldn't all see a whiteboard or they want to be able to capture it electronically to share later). The wirelessness frees up the instructor to walk around the classroom and use the stylus and tablet to control the computer like a mouse and continue to annotate from anywhere. The HP Digital Sketch was a poor contender for quality and the Wacom Intuos was a fine device, but the need for Bluetooth made it difficult to use in classrooms where the teaching stations do not have Bluetooth.
Here's why the MimioPad is my #1 choice for a wireless handwriting digitizing tablet (I'm still not sure what the best term is for these things!):
- It uses a USB RF receiver, not Bluetooth. On the teaching stations I tried, it worked as a mouse and pen tool (in Word, for instance) without the MimioStudio software installed. I just needed to use a USB port in the tower rather than one on the monitor.
- The MimioStudio software makes it an amazing device: it can record an avi, reveal the screen (the modern day equivalent of pulling down a piece of paper to reveal a transparency on an overhead), spotlight, capture, and it allows annotation on anything – not just digital whiteboards and programs with pen tools, which is the case without the software.
- I haven't been able to get far enough away for it to quit working wirelessly and still communicate with people in the room to know whether it was working. It still worked down the hall from the room it was in. I haven't been able to get into a big lecture hall to try it out yet but I anticipate it will be acceptable for most situations.
- I was able to write as clearly and legibly on it as I recall writing on the Intuos.
- It's actually about $30 less than the Intuos.
- Local tech support: the Mimio rep lives right by campus :)