Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Wacom raises the bar!

I have been a Wacom (Wah-kom) user and supporter for a long time.(My first review of one of their products was in 2009!) As a company, they listen to their customer's comments and come up with ways to enhance their product lines to meet and surpass the needs/wants of their customers.

Wacom is particularly good at creating products to support both teachers and learners. They design products which allow teachers to create content and teach more easily, and ones that help students take advantage of new technologies and showcase their acquisition of content knowledge by creating!

One of the cool things about the Wacom products is that the company uses industry-standard technologies whether the product is intended for a second grader or a CEO of a large company. Their products all offer different features, but allow the user to "graduate" through the levels of complexity offered through to the enterprise products. In the PreK-12 setting, the students learn skills that will allow them to move to the next level product when they are ready, and they will feel comfortable with the new interface.

Wacom One is the product line targeted to the education market. I reviewed the products back in 2021, but jumped at the chance to try out the next generation of the Wacom One line of tablets and displays.

Wacom studied the customer requests sent in about the previous products, and came up with various innovative options for anyone who wants to use a Wacom One product. Their focus was on customization and compatibility. Wacom also added touch to the 13" display and bluetooth and USB-C to the Wacom One M tablet. 

Wacom has come up with a clever way to introduce their new personalization and à la carte  options for purchase. They are calling the program the "Wacom Adventure Program" which includes three components.


  • Choice of pens and colors (or no pen if you already have one)
  • Choice of connections to ensure the tablet or display will work with your model of computer
  • A cool portable stand, if you want one, and other accessories, too
  • The applications that come bundled with the devices are selected to allow a broad range-of-use cases
  • The applications include adequate trial periods to allow for extensive testing by the end-user, as well as learning videos for most.
Onboarding and Engagement
  • There are several videos of different use cases included
  • In addition, there is a suite of 70+ learning tutorials to support users at any level of expertise.

Below is a overview of the Wacom One product family.

Wacom One M and Wacom One S

The Wacom One M and Wacom One S tablets are popular Wacom products for  the PreK-12 classroom. A drawing tablet allows students to use a pen to demonstrate their creativity by using a natural process -- drawing! Even the youngest students can practice their alphabet letters using a tablet.

The pen, in conjunction with software that allows pen input, can be set-up to be a pencil, pen, eraser, or paintbrush! And the tablet is pressure sensitive, too. With the ability to change the functions of the pen, students can easily express their creativity! Of course, they can also use the tablet to maneuver their way through the menu items in any software on their device!

The newest feature on the Wacom One M and S tablets is the ability for a teacher or student to use the tablet wirelessly via Bluetooth. This allows for a whole host of new uses -- teachers can roam the room and showcase items for students and can even hand-off the Wacom One M to students to add to the "classroom conversation". 

The Wacom One M and Wacom One S also use a single USB-C cable to attach to a computer (if not using the Wacom One S wirelessly), with additional adapters available for computers without a USB-C port.

One customer-requested option has also been incorporated into the Wacom One M and S Tablets. The pen being used can be tethered to the tablet! In this way, whether being used wirelessly or plugged into a computer, the pen is always going to be there when needed! (Read between the will not walk off!)

Wacom One M                      Wacom One S

Wacom One 13" Touch Display and Wacom One 12" Pen Displays

The power of a display for embedding creativity into a classroom cannot be overstated. Having students use industry standard design tools on a responsive and pressure-sensitive display will provide them with the skills we see outlined in the ISTE Standards for Students as well as develop skills targeting college and career readiness.

In my opinion, at the high school level, a lab of graphic design displays should be considered for purchase. Students can bring their own computers to hook-up for a personalized experience. Whether students are developing prototypes to 3D print, creating a poster to support a social cause they are passionate about, or creating a drawing to include with their college application, I feel all students should have the experience of creating with a pen and display. 

At the middle school level, I would love to see a pod of Wacom One 12" or Wacom One 13" Touch Pen Displays for students to access in the library. Since many schools already supply computers for their students, this shared pod could easily be used by any student.

The Wacom One 13" Touch and the Wacom One 12" Pen Displays, both with color, provide students with a sizable screen for creating. The cool new feature of touch, which is incorporated into the Wacom One 13" Display, provides another avenue of natural input for the user in addition to the pen. Either display plugs into a USB-C port on a computer and acts as a second screen. (There are also additional connection options available from Wacom if the computer does not have a USB-C port.)

Please check the Wacom site for current information on pricing.
Wacom also overs an education discount. Find more details here.

Review of the Wacom One 13" Touch Color Display

I was lucky enough to be contacted by Wacom to provide a blog post review of their new offerings. This is not a sponsored post, but I was sent the Wacom One 13" Touch Color Pen Display to "experiment" on! 

The first cool thing I noticed was the packaging. The Wacom One 13" Touch Pen Display came in a box that used FSC-certified paper and the minimal but protective packaging of the product was great! Wacom is working hard to make their products more environmentally-friendly, and it shows! You can find out more about their eco-design efforts here.

Here is a photo of what was in the box.

  • Two USB-C to USB-C cables. The first cable is used to hook the tablet up to the included charger for power and the second able goes from the tablet to the USB-C port on my computer. There were hook-up scenarios included, too.
  • The tablet, pen, and a quick start guide.
  • Replacement nibs for the pen and the small tool to use for replacing them. Make sure to look carefully in the box for the 2 tiny packages of nibs. (They are not in this photo.)
After installing the Wacom software, called the Wacom Center, on my computer, it was very easy to follow the step-by-step directions to hook-up everything. You can see from the photo below that the work area takes up minimal space!

Wacom recommends, for the most efficient use of the Wacom One 13" Touch Color Pen Display to set your display settings to extend the screen. This makes it easy to drag windows back and forth between the computer and tablet.  I also changed the resolution of the tablet to allow me more work area on the tablet. (Another cool thing -- the Wacom can be used as a second monitor when it is set up like this!)

The Wacom Center allows you to change settings easily on the tablet.  You simply press a button on the top of the tablet, and the menu appears. I upped the brightness, since I like a bright screen. The touch screen has more of a matte finish which makes viewing excellent.

The image below shows the top of the tablet. From bottom to top:

  • The power switch button
  • The on/off light
  • The settings menu button
  • The slider button to use the tablet in or out of touch mode.

Having a external display tablet like the Wacom One 13" Touch Color Pen Display is great! The ability to draw and mark-up naturally with a stylus on top of any software you use is easy to do. And, the addition of the touch capability on this pen display allows an additional natural way for input.

For my "experiment" with the Wacom One 13" Touch Color Pen Display, I decided to fill out part of a month on the digital journal I just purchased. My journal is tied to Notability.

Wacom has collected material for educators in a part of their site which they label "Teachers for Teachers" which includes ways to use pen and display tablets with popular software tools and ideas for use in supporting student learning. The Wacom One series of pen tablets and pen displays come with a bundle of software. Once your device is registered, you can try out the items below for a generous amount of time.

  • Bamboo Paper Pro, Magma Studio, Bluescape, Affinity Photo, Affinity Publisher, Affinity Designer, and Skillshare (3-month license)
  • Clip Studio Paint Pro (6-month license Mac/PC, 3-month license for Chromebook)
  • Kami App (12-month license)
  • Foxit PDF Editor for Education (12-month license)
  • Explain Everything, Pear Deck, and Limnu (3-month license)
Wacom has many more support materials for pen tablets and pen displays on their site. Here are just a few.
  • Tutorials to help you get started with your specific tablet
  • A series of pages and tutorials including various ways to use a Wacom device
  • Creativity Camp with webinars and activities provided throughout the year and archived on their site. This also includes information for students looking at graphic design as a career and ideas for parents to keep their kids creating.
When you get a moment, take a look at Wacom's new Wacom One family of tools. I am sure you can come up with creative ways to use their products whether you are toting around the Wacom One S pen tablet as you control your front end computer in the classroom, creating teaching materials with the Wacom One 13" Touch Color Pen Display, or recording  ideas from your colleagues as you are on a Zoom call!