There’s a phrase that’s being used more frequently in recent years: “The fourth industrial revolution”. Digital technology has become part of our everyday life, so much so that we’re no longer visitors in cyberspace, but residents.
This has meant that for many of us who work and access education outside of schools, the way we learn and teach has transformed dramatically. Online tuition has become a popular choice for many parents and students, offering flexibility and a personalised learning experience that can be adapted to fit most styles of home education. As a teacher & tutor of Computer Science and Games Design, I’ve found that there are a select few tools that have significantly enhanced the experience for me and for my learners. Here’s why.
For the Tutor
As a tutor, the graphics tablet I use has become an indispensable tool. It allows me to illustrate concepts visually, making abstract ideas more concrete. For example, when teaching game design, I can sketch out game levels or character designs in real-time, making the lessons more interactive and engaging.
The VEIKK tablet I use was originally purchased as a test and I refused to buy the more expensive versions. I’m really glad that I didn’t because I now have one for each desk! Even though I chose the larger 10″ version (this is more comfortable for me to use on long 10+ hour teaching days), it’s still lightweight and has a responsive, ergonomic, pressure-sensitive pen that feels natural, like a pen on paper.
When one of my learners is finding a concept tricky, this means that I can quickly sketch it out on our interactive whiteboard and they have a permanent version of this to keep for revision. Over the years, my ability to draw has not improved, but it has opened up a whole world of creativity in explaining some of the more dry concepts… explaining computer architectures with ants in shoes & hats is just one of my more recent examples!
For the Learner
For students, using a graphics tablet can make online learning more interactive and engaging. The model we use in our tuition centre, the VEIKK A15 Pro, is a great choice for beginners and we opted for these as a budget version that can fit into a small bag. The most important benefit is the ability for learners to be able to interact with my online whiteboard. I’m a huge fan of interactive lessons (you’ll get no chalk & talk from me!) and part of this is the ability for learners to put their own answers onto our class resources.
To make this happen, all of my groups use classkick which allows me to share my whiteboard whilst they write their answers on their individual board – in this way, I can see their work, but they don’t have to collaborate on work with others in the group unless they feel confident to do so.
Classkick can be used with just a mouse and keyboard, but you can see in the example here that access to a graphics tablet has taken this learner’s answer to the next level!
For the Digital Artist
For those interested in digital art (something we cover in both coursework units of the iMedia Games Design course), my daughter uses the One by Wacom. This tablet is a step up from mine and offers a more natural pen experience, with a pressure-sensitive pen that acs more like a paintbrush. In recent years, the price of these has come down significantly making the choice far wider for those who want to use their tablet for more than just whiteboard writing.
In conclusion, I’m not sure that I’d want to be without mine and if you’re looking for equipment to invest in for online tuition, a graphics tablet being near the top of your list is a good plan.
If you’re interested in exploring online tuition further, check out my distance learning courses. I offer a range of courses in Computer Science, IT, and Games Design.
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