Virtual Classroom: Annotation and Drawing with Wacom

December 15, 2020

Teachers are turning to Wacom for support as they move to online teaching. Pen tablets are the perfect way to engage students, create visual images, and capture your thought process.

Are your students turned off by long chunks of text? Confused by the clip art pictures you thought would help them understand? If this sounds familiar, see how a Wacom pen tablet can help you with clear drawing and annotation whilst you teach online.

Wacom’s pen tools

When you plug in your pen tablet, you’ll have access to a range of simple pen tools you can use whilst teaching. They work with all your favourite programs including PowerPoint, Word, and collaborative platforms like Microsoft Teams. You can even use them with PDF documents, removing any time wasted retyping.

Pen tools available:

  • Highlighter
  • Pens
  • Different colours and line weight
  • Erasure tool
  • Convert maths symbols
  • Convert 2D shape drawings

The pen tools are perfect for creating your own diagrams, graphs, and images whilst you’re teaching. You can easily switch between pen colours and line weight to make your drawings accurate and easy to understand.

Use the range of different pen colours to handwrite, cross out, and edit typed sentences. It’s ideal for modelled writing activities to improve the clarity and complexity of student responses.

Using your pen tablet in live lessons

You can use your pen tablet to draw and annotate easily whilst you’re teaching. Try using Windows Ink Workspace or Wacom Bamboo Paper to give you a large writing space when you screen share. It recreates that feeling of having a whiteboard in your classroom, even though you’re teaching virtually.

Use your pen tablet to:

  • Draw diagrams and images whilst you speak
  • Annotate writing
  • Build mind maps and other visual thinking tools
  • Edit and correct student work
  • Highlight specific parts of writing, diagrams, or images
  • Create step-by-step guides

Record your live sessions to send home as revision tools for students who can’t access live lessons, or as a perfect resource to keep for future classes.

Using Wacom in asynchronous lessons

Your pen tablet is also a useful resource for classes students access in their own time. These lessons can be difficult for them to follow without you there to guide them.

Using a pen tablet lets you create simple instructions to ensure they get the most out of the learning opportunity. It creates the familiar classroom feeling they’re missing online.

Use software like Loom or Microsoft Stream to record lessons, just as you would if you were teaching live. Record yourself using your pen tablet to annotate and draw whilst you speak. Students can pause, rewind, and re-watch your demonstrations at their own speed.


Avoid cognitive overload

Are you guilty of overcrowding your resources? It’s easy to squeeze every imaginable piece of information onto a worksheet or presentation slide. You think it would help them more, but it could be a barrier to learning.

Students can only process a small amount of information at one time. Too much on a page can cause cognitive overload and stop them learning as well as they could.

That’s where a pen tablet is useful. Instead of presenting huge sections of text and images, you can build up your visuals whilst teaching to show the process of learning. Rather than finding diagrams, graphs, and images online, you can draw your own version to meet the needs of your learners. It’s simple to make edits or completely redraw as needed.

Which Wacom pen tablet should you choose?

Wacom has a wide range of pen tablets to choose from so you can be sure to find the best product to fit your needs. Most teachers find themselves drawn to the Wacom One or Wacom Intuos to use for online learning.

The Wacom One:

  • A large screen tablet
  • No steep learning curve
  • Compatible with different handwriting pens
  • You can see exactly what you are writing and drawing

The Wacom Intuos:

  • An affordable choice
  • A range of sizes available
  • Easy to plug in and use immediately
  • Bluetooth connection option

To find out more about which Wacom product will best suit you, check out our comparison review of the One and Intuos. You’ll find out more about each one and the benefits they bring to online teaching.

Key takeaways

Most teachers aren’t artists. It’s incredibly hard to draw and write using a computer mouse or trackpad. That leaves students confused and struggling to follow your instructions and demonstrations.

Adding a pen tablet helps you create a natural, familiar teaching experience. It’s comfortable and simple to use. You produce better drawings and handwriting for your students.

For more information about using Wacom for virtual teaching, check out the eLearning page, developed especially for teachers. You’ll find plenty of helpful tricks and techniques to help you make the most of online learning.

Learn more about promotions and Wacom Deals here:

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