I teach an engineering class and pre-covid used to use Powerpoint slides projected on to a whiteboard so I could easily annotate on slides.

Plus the class had spare whiteboards where I could draw additional concepts.

Post-covid I am using zoom for my courses via my laptop (non touch screen). Now I can still share the slides but then come several problems. Annotating via zoom on the laptop is clunky since the mouse / trackpad isn't too good for this. A workaround is that to sign in from my Android tablet (Samsung S6 lite) as a second (dummy) user and then annotate using the stylus.

This works somewhat but has it's flaws again. First, the palm rejection doesn't work within zoom so one has to hold the stylus clunkily. Second every time I change to a new slide I've to manually "clear" the annotations since zoom seems to assume those should stick to all slides.

Furthermore, the annotations are lost and then don't make it to anything permanent that I can share with the students.

I could use the inking feature within power-point but then I would need a touchscreen laptop or to buy something like the Wacom bamboo. Not sure how steep the learning curve would be for that.

Finally, if I just need to sketch something in "parallel" to the ppt (which I would have done in a normal class using the 2nd whiteboard) there's no good way to do that.

Just curious how others are handling this? The tablet annotate screen real estate seems too small while writing with a stylus (due to a resolution mismatch). One can barely write 3 or 4 lines whereas a physical whiteboard would easily allow 10. It's difficult to keep as many concepts / equations / diagrams in the visual window to make a clear point.

Just wondering if any tips regarding the technology setup others are using? Any better tooling that would handle this multiple task set of powerpoint + annotation + multiple whiteboards?

  • 1
    I described what I use with pdfs here (the linked Q&A may be a possible duplicate of your question). I work with a Wacom Intuos Pro. I might also decide to use PDF annotator instead of OpenBoard, but I haven't yet tried for a lecture.
    – Massimo Ortolano
    Jan 9 at 18:33
  • THanks! How is your experience with the Wacom? How long does it take to get comfortable writing on a surface that does not provide visual feedback? Jan 9 at 18:38
  • 1
    It didn't take long to get comfortable, just a few hours of usage and I'm having a very positive experience, and take into account that I'm very bad at writing and drawing (well, you can see this directly from the slide in the post :-) ). Actually, now I'd probably buy the largest model instead of the medium one, but it's not a big deal. I had also the opportunity to test the Wacom One with the built-in display, but at the end I preferred mine. FWIW, I know a professional comic artist who uses such a tablet without display, even with the smallest size, and produces wonderful drawings.
    – Massimo Ortolano
    Jan 9 at 18:48
  • A stupid but functional workaround I used regarding palm rejection is to put a small towel under my hand. Basically anything thick enough to stop the touchscreen from detecting it as input. With regards to screen real estate keep the other side in mind though. For a student watching on a smaller screen, more than a few lines at once can be close to illegible.
    – mlk
    Jan 9 at 19:02
  • 1
    Not an answer, but... First, I don't think it is possible to replicate the in-face experience. You need to make some changes. The technology you are asking about may help, but isn't a complete solution. More important, don't confuse lecturing with teaching. I could probably provide a few suggestions for that, but it wouldn't be very zoom related.
    – Buffy
    Jan 9 at 21:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.