Monday, May 06, 2013

Wacom Bamboo Capture

Wacom Graphire (2002)
I have had a Wacom (pronounced "wah-kum") drawing tablet for years. In our district, we had computer lab sets of the Wacom Graphire2, which came out in 2002. The Graphire2 came bundled with software, including an early version of Adobe Photoshop Elements. 

Having a drawing tablet and a piece of software that easily allowed students to mark up images and create their own art products, opened an entirely new way of using a computer for our middle schoolers. The ability to hold a drawing tool just like they held a pencil was so exciting for them!

The tablets still work today with the Mac and Windows machines!

However, Wacom has continued to develop the capabilities of their drawing tablets. The Intuos pen tablets line includes various sized graphics tablets that can be used via pen or via touch. Their Cintiq pen displays line includes 13", 22" and 24" computer displays that have the ability to be used as graphic tablets, too!

The line of pen tablets that are most affordable, and I feel would work well in a school environment, is the Wacom Bamboo Capture. The Bamboo Capture has a drawing area of 5.8"x3.6" and the Bamboo Create has a drawing area of 8.5"x5.4". The Bamboo Capture would probably work best in a computer lab because of its smaller footprint, but the Bamboo Create, with its larger input area, would work well in support of a graphics lab you might have in your high school. The tablets include the drawing pen and also work as a large touchpad for controlling items on your computer's screen with just your finger.
Bamboo Capture (2013)
Software bundle

Both of these models have similar features and come bundled with software that would be useful for schools. I have been using a Bamboo Capture, and, in the box, both Adobe® Photoshop® Elements 8 and Autodesk® SketchBook® Express were included with the tablet. When using Photoshop Elements with the Bamboo Capture, the interactive pen is pressure-sensitive. That means, if you press hard, the lines are darker and if you draw lightly, the lines show up fainter. 

Wireless module

One of the coolest accessories for these tablets is the wireless module. With a component plugged into the tablet and a USB receiver plugged into the computer, the Bamboo Capture drawing tablet can be used while walking around the classroom. With this accessory, you can control your desktop easily while away from your desk, as well as mark up an image projected from your computer. You can even hand off the tablet for students to solve those tricky math equations from their seats!

Use in online classes and Webinars

I have also used the Bamboo Capture in both in my online classes and my virtual presentations. In the online classes, when I hold a synchronous session with the students in Adobe Connect, we have a shared whiteboard. The Bamboo Capture makes it easy for me to mark up this virtual whiteboard. 

In addition, when using any Webinar tool that allows me to share my screen (Adobe Connect, Skype, Google+ Hangouts, Screenleap, etc.), I can use the Bamboo Capture to mark up a Web page or slide, edit a student paper, or point out, graphically, items I want to the students to take notice of. Since most of these Webinars are recorded, the actions I take with the Bamboo Capture are saved along with the rest of the Webinar. 

I have also used the Bamboo Capture when using online screen recording tools such as Screen-cast-o-matic and Screenr, and off-line tools such as TechSmith's Camtasia and Adobe's Captivate, when creating instructional screencast videos for my students or Webinar participants.

Bamboo Dock and software

The Bamboo Dock, which is the desktop software installed with the Bamboo Capture drivers, includes its own suite of software. This software includes Doodler, Free the Bird, and Landmarker. I tried each of them and made a few screenshots and screencasts so you can see the capabilities.

Free the Bird

"Free the Bird" is a physics game, but also gives the user practice picking a point with the tablet's stylus as well as drawing.


Landmarker allows you to enter a zip code or place name and you are presented with the location on a map. You can then mark it up with the stylus and save it out as a JPEG.

Bamboo Paper

Bamboo Paper both comes with the Bamboo Dock software and is also available as an iPad app. It allows you to take notes, bring in images, create separate notebooks for your information and much more. You can easily share the notebooks with others, too.


Inkwell is handwriting recognition software built-in to the Mac operating system. It turns your handwritten notes into text. Here is a quick clip of this process while using the Bamboo Capture to enter handwritten text.

Win a Bamboo Capture! (US residents only, sorry...)

With all of these capabilities, how would you use the Bamboo Capture graphics tablet, wirelessly or wired, in your classroom to support teaching and learning?

Submit an idea to the Google Form below (or visit this link) and one lucky (randomly-chosen) contributor, will win their own Wacom Bamboo Capture! The package will include the Bambook Capture, the bundled software, such as Adobe Photoshop Elements, and the Bamboo Dock software, as well as the wireless module!

Submit your ideas by June 14, 2013 and the winner will be chosen on June 15, 2013. If you submit an idea, you will be agreeing to let me share that idea on the blog (without your name or email address).

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Work smarter, not harder

This article originally appeared in the Discovery Education blog "Kathy Schrock's Katch of the Month" in  May 2013 and is re-posted here with permission.
“Work smarter, not harder.” — Scrooge McDuck (via Carl Barks, Disney illustrator)
Having iPads in the classroom, whether there are a few shared by the students, a cart that gets rolled in every now and then, or having a 1:1 initiative, does pose some interesting problems. How do you assign work and distribute files to the students? How do they turn in work to you? How do you assess their work and leave comments and get it back to them? How is all of this archived for future access?
All of these processes are collectively known as “classroom workflow”. Many educators with iPad initiatives are sharing their ideas, thoughts, and ways to do this effectively. There are also some no-cost Web tool alternatives that support this process, too.
One new feature of iOS6, the newest operating system for the iPad, allows images from the iPad to be uploaded through a submission box in a Web page. This helps if students have their documents as screenshots in the Camera Album, but it does not solve all the problems.
Sam Gliksman: iPad in Education for Dummies
Sam Gliksman, the author of iPads in Education for Dummies, posts some information about classroom workflow. He suggests using Dropbox to both share information with students via your public Dropbox folder and, if your students have email accounts, they can create a Dropbox account and share a folder with you so you can upload items to their Dropbox.
One other option that I have used is using DROPitTOme. This online tool allows you to set-up a unique upload address and a DROPitTOme folder appears in your Dropbox list, as seen below. You then can give this passworded folder address to students and they can upload directly to your Dropbox with no chance of seeing anyone else’s work.
Sam also recommends the use of Evernote for iPad classroom workflow. With the fact it can run on almost any device, from computers to smartphones, it is perfect, especially for BYOT environments. Students can submit files from their iPad via a special email address to your Evernote account even without an Evernote account, too. With an Evernote account, students can share a collaborative folder in your account.

Jonathan Wylie

Jonathan Wylie, an instructional technology consultant for Grant Wood AEA (Iowa) is a source of all types of great information! (If you are on Twitter, be sure to give him a follow at @jonathanwylie.) In a Slideshare presentation found here, Jonathan provides some ideas of how teachers can manage a digital workflow in the classroom.  He includes Dropbox and Evernote, but extends it also to include how to print with the iPad, and the use of Google Drive, learning management systems, and other tips and trips. The presentation is embedded below.

Greg Kulowiec

Greg Kulowiec is a consultant for EdTech Teacher, a Boston-based educational technology consulting firm. A former social studies teacher, Greg presented at the New England 1:1 iPad summit. He concentrated on the sharing and submission of work to and from the iPad. In his presentation, he covered Evernote, Box, and Dropbox, as well as Google Forms, Web Dav options, Posterous, audio and video submissions, and use of social media to share work and information. The slideshare presentation can be found here and is embedded below.

David Berg

David Berg is a community college psychology professor who presented a paper at a conference entitled “Using the iPad in Your Academic Workflow“. Although specifically written for teachers of psychology, Dr. Berg includes an overview of why to use the iPad to support teaching and learning as well as specific apps that are useful to him. He includes the distribution and submission of files, but also provides a list of iPad apps for project and task management, writing, communication and collaboration tools and apps, as well as information management, and demonstration apps.  Dr. Berg includes some interesting new apps that you might want to check out!

Don Orth

At the other end of the spectrum, Don Orth, the Director of Technology at Hillbrook School (CA), has been working with a 1:1 program for a number of years. In his blog post “Digital Workflow in Middle School with 1:1 iPads“, Don starts the conversation about the disadvantages of paper in the classroom, and goes on to discuss his school’s solution to the classroom workflow problem. He includes an overview of iTunesU for K-12 schools, which recently became available, as a viable option for sharing material. Don also talks about a commercial solution, eBackpack, which provides the ability to mark up student work and return it. (Another commercial option to look at is Showbie.)

There are also many apps for the iPad, some tied to online sites, that help with the classroom workflow. These include
I have a page devoted to the workflow in the mobile device classroom that I will add to as I discover new apps, suggestions, ideas, tips and tricks. You can access that page at