Remote Teaching and E-Learning with Wacom for Education.
With the ever-increasing shift from traditional classroom education to e-learning and remote teaching, more tech companies are taking note and adding their products to the teacher’s toolbox.
During the last year, through this global pandemic, teachers across the globe have been relearning how to do their job to the best of thier ability.
It’s been tough!
What is Wacom for Education? Wacom for Education is the Japanese tech company, Wacom’s, initiative to assist teachers with remote teaching. Wacom are championing three of their innovative tablets which come packaged with 5 very popular educational apps. Wacom’s initiative allows students to make as much progress as possible while learning remotely.
Who are Wacom?
In this article we look at Wacom; the latest company making our remote teaching easier and more effective.
And boy oh boy, do they do it well!
Traditionally, Japanese company Wacom has been the global leader in pen display and tablets for creative users. However, now they are bringing their brilliant products to the classroom.
Their products offer something the rest don’t seem to, versatility! Their devices have almost limitless application to any subject, ability or age group!
Wacom for Education
With nearly 40 years experience in providing interactive, intuitive technology for designers and other creative users, Wacom already had the tools and knowledge to make a big splash in education.
In my opinion, a shift away from traditional teaching methods has been on the cards for a number of years now, with the likes of Google, Apple and a host of smaller companies and educational app developers finding their way into the classroom and the everyday teacher vocabulary.
It is not our job to change the digital environment in which our students live, but to adapt our teaching to fit it.
Wacom E-Learning Devices
Wacom are recommending three specific “hero” devices that they see are ideal companions for teachers and students alike. I will be writing in-depth reviews for each of these tools but for starters, let’s have a quick overview.
One by Wacom (Small)
The One by Wacom (small) is their entry-level non-display tablet (non-display meaning it hasn’t got a screen). It is small and light so it’s easy to pop in your bag and take between classrooms and with a price tag around US$60 (or on the UK site, around £35) it’s pretty affordable (even on our teacher salary).
But what is it, what does it do and how can it be useful for us teachers?
One by Wacom Small, Stats and Features
|What’s in the Box||Stats||Features|
|Small Pen Tablet||Colour: Top – Black; |
Bottom – Red
|Pressure-sensitive and lightweight pen – no batteries, no charging|
|Pen||Weight: 260g (0.57 lbs)||Natural pen on paper feel|
|1 Metre USB Cable||Size: 210x146x8.7mm |
(8.3×5.7×0.3in), without tag and rubber footConnects with USB to any Windows, macOS, Chromebook* or Linux PC3x Replacement Pen NibsPen Active Area: 152x95mm (6.0×3.7in)Bundled apps specifically tailored for education includedNib Removal ToolPen Size: 138.8×11.5mmQuick Start GuideSystem Requirements: Windows® 7 or later, OS X 10.10 or later, standard USB Type-A port, internet access to download driver (for tablet to work)*No Driver required for Chromebook. Instant start (True plug and Play)
One by Wacom (Small). What’s in the Box?
Uses of the One by Wacom (Small) for Remote Teaching
I have been using my One by Wacom in most of the online lessons I’ve taught since I got it (I teach secondary science full time still). With its plug and play ease of use, it has been an absolute godsend!
When teaching in class, I’ll usually annotate my lessons as I deliver them, either on the interactive whiteboard or a whiteboard with a board marker (depending on what room I am teaching in). Since I’ve started remote teaching due to schools being closed in the UK (thanks Covid!), I’d not been able to do this and I’ve found it very frustrating.
Enter One by Wacom!
I thought it would be harder to use/integrate into my lessons, having tried various tech before. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Whatever I am doing; using PowerPoint/Google slides, playing a video or explaining calculations on a worksheet, I can simply use the Wacom tablet and pen to draw/write over the top of whatever is on my screen.
As I am sharing my screen with my online classes, they see these annotations too.
I have had many other teachers in my school ask me how I’m doing it because it makes remote teaching much, MUCH more effective!
…and if that’s not enough for you…
The One by Wacom also comes with free creative software AND 3 months complimentary use of 5 brilliant educational apps (Collaboard, Explain Everything, Kami, Limnu and Pear Deck) that work seamlessly with the tablet (see further details later in this post).
Oh, and the pen doesn’t need batteries, so no emergencies!
The next hero model that Wacom are promoting for their Wacom for Education initiative is the Wacom Intuos. It comes in two sizes (small and medium), the smaller one can come with or without Bluetooth. I have been reviewing the medium, Bluetooth version but all models in the range have the same functionality.
The Wacom Intuos does cost a bit more than the One by Wacom but it offers a higher level of functionality (especially when it comes to art, diagrams and more visual subjects).
The Intuos small (non-Bluetooth) costs approx US$80 (£70), the small with Bluetooth is US$100 (£90) and the medium (only comes with Bluetooth) is US$200 (£180).
Wacom Intuos, Stats and Features
|What’s in the Box||Stats||Features|
|Small or MediumPen Tablet||Colour: Small – Black; |
Medium – Black or Pistachio
|Control and precision thanks to the pen’s 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. Pen has no batteries, therefore no charging|
|4K Erganomic Pen||Weight: |
Small: 230g (8.1 oz)
Small (W/ Bluetooth): 250g (8.8 oz)
Medium: 410 g (14.5 oz)
|100 lines per mm recognition lets the tablet know exactly where your pen is.|
|PVC Free USB Cable||Size: |
Small: 200x160x8.8 mm (7.9×6.3×0.4 in)
Medium: 264x200x8.8 mm (10.4×7.8×0.4 in)
|Connects with USB or (Bluetooth models only) wireless connectivity thanks to Bluetooth 4.2.|
|3x Replacement Pen Nibs||Pen Active Area:|
Small: 152×95 mm (6.0×3.7 in)
Medium: 216x135mm (8.5×5.3 in)
|Bundled apps specifically tailored for education included.|
|Nib Removal Tool||Battery Life (Bluetooth only): 15 hours minimum|
Charging Time: Up to 3.5 hrs
|Either 1, 2 or 3 software packages (depending on model*). Choose from; Clip Studio Paint Pro, Corel Painter Essentials 7 or Corel Aftershot Pro 3|
|Quick Start Guide||System Requirements: Standard USB Type-A port, Windows®|
7 or later (excluding Windows 10 S; latest service pack/build); OS®
X 10.11 or later; Bluetooth 4.2 for wireless connection
(on Bluetooth models only), internet access to download driver for tablet to work and to select downloadable software.
|4 customisable ExpressKeys™ for faster, efficient shortcuts.|
Wacom Intuos (Medium). What’s in the Box?
Uses of the Wacom Intuos for Remote Teaching and Online Learning.
I’ll say straight off the bat that the Wacom Intuos does exactly the same things as the One by Wacom.
However, it does have several extra features that may give it the edge over its cheaper counterpart. Whether they are enough to justify the extra cost, I’ll leave up to you and what you need the tablet for.
Lets take a look at the extra features:
1. Bluetooth on the Wacom Intuos
Bluetooth connectivity comes as standard on all but the cheapest model. While having Bluetooth may seem like an unnecessary add on (it works with a USB, so what’s the issue, right?), it actually makes it much quicker to get into action if you have to change classrooms between lessons.
Bluetooth also means you are not tethered to your PC or laptop, I found myself wandering around my class with it, giving me the ability to jot ideas and examples on the board as I spoke to students.
If one student has a problem, they’re probably not the only one, so showing the solution on the main class screen will reduce your workload (it saves your sanity having to explain the same thing over and over) and allows you to challenge misconceptions immediately and to the whole class.
2. The Wacom Intuos Comes with More Packaged Software
Depending on what Wacom Intuos model you buy, you can have up to three of the following excellent software packages. They are more suited to the more creative subjects but we are the masters of adapting, so let your imagination go wild!
Intuos small (no Bluetooth) gets you 1, Intuos small (with Bluetooth) gets you 2 and Intuos medium gets you all 3.
Corel Aftershot Pro 3
You get a free 90-day license for Corel Aftershot Pro3. If you teach photography or it’s something that you do in your spare time this photo processing tool would be a great benefit.
Corel Painter Essentials 7
Another 90-day license comes with this brilliant digital painting package, excellent again, for the creative subjects and those with artistic flare (not me, my artistic skills peaked at stick men).
Clip Studio Paint Pro
This one I know more about as it is my son’s go-to drawing package for his artwork, it’s great for graphic novel/manga type artwork. You get a whopping 2-year license for it too. Below is an example of what can be done on Clip Studio Paint Pro (Done by my 15yr old son).
3. Wacom Intuos comes with a Wacom Pen 4K
The 4K pen that comes with the Wacom Intuos is twice as sensitive, has a built-in nib remover and you can store your spare nibs inside the pen.
I think that the larger price point of the Wacom Intuos would possibly be worth it if you are going to make use of the Bluetooth (I have been) and/or the bundled software.
Both are very good, reliable, light devices that would be a great addition to your teaching toolkit!
Finally we get to the ultimate teaching experience!
Where the previous two models require some time to get used to the hand-eye coordination required to write on the tablet whilst looking at the screen, the Wacom One has the screen built into the tablet.
As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, it costs more than the other two; US$399 (£370) in the Wacom store.
That is a big price jump and for most of us, it’s probably not worth it but, if you can afford it and/or you have the need for the extra features it gives you, it would give you, as I said earlier, the ULTIMATE teaching experience!
Wacom One, Stats and Features
|What’s in the Box||Stats||Features|
|Wacom One creative pen display 13.3″||Colour: Flint White||Paper-like canvas – natural surface friction, minimal reflection|
|Wacom One Pen||Weight: |
|Looks and feels like a standard pen – no need for batteries|
|Wacom One X-Shape Cable||Size: |
225 x 357 x 14.6 mm
8.9 x 14.1 x 0.6 in
|One pen, many uses – software for multiple pens and brushes|
|3x Replacement Pen Nibs||Active Area:|
294 x 166 mm
11.6 x 6.5 in
|Bundled apps specifically tailored for education included.|
|AC adapter (10W) and AC plug head||Input Video Signal:|
|Digital freedom – sketch, paint, annotate, edit, share|
|Quick Start Guide||System Requirements: Windows 7 & later|
Mac OS 10.13 & later
|Connect your way – Mac or PC, certain Android devices|
|Regulation Sheet||Includes creative software: purchase & register your Wacom One and receive Bamboo Paper Pro, Clip Studio Paint Pro (3-month license), Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom (2-month license), and Adobe Fresco (6-month license)|
Wacom One. What’s in the Box?
Using the Wacom One for Remote Teaching
Like the other two hero models Wacom is promoting, you get complimentary 90-days access to the 5 brilliant educational apps (Collaboard, Explain Everything, Kami, Limnu and Pear Deck) but unlike the One by Wacom (yes, I know, they have very similar names), it doesn’t work instantly with a Chrome book.
This beautiful beast will do everything the others do, but what else does it do?
For starters, having a display screen makes it much easier to use than the pen tablets that require a little getting used to in terms of your hand-eye coordination.
In short, it works as a second screen for your computer, meaning you can use more than one desktop at a time. (At this exact moment, I am using my laptop screen to type this while, on the Wacom one screen, I have Google Classroom, Google Slides and Google Meet open. My class are currently doing a task for me! Don’t tell my boss!)
The Wacom One is fully compatible with the 5 teaching apps that come bundled with it, which work brilliantly for remote teaching. The screen just makes everything easier to do.
The large 13.3″ screen doesn’t make your work feel cramped and the screen has “natural surface friction”, meaning it actually feels like you are drawing or writing on paper, not glass, adding to its ease of use.
Are their any downsides?
A couple of downsides I noted when using it is the lack of Bluetooth and the size (this is both a benefit and a downside). These mean you are both tethered to your computer and make it a little more cumbersome to move around (it is still very light, just bigger than the other two).
Whilst the lack of Bluetooth would inhibit you when classroom teaching, for remote teaching, it isn’t a problem. However, with the price tag this levees, I’d want to use it all the time.
The Wacom One does come with more software than the less expensive models. Packaged with it come the following:
- Clip Studio Paint Pro (6-month licence)
- Bamboo Paper. Turns your tablet into a paper sketch pad. (Only for Windows 10)
- Adobe Creative Cloud Plan (Either Adobe Premier Rish (video editing) or Adobe Photography Plan (Photoshop and Lightroom), 2-month licence.
- Adobe Fresco (6-month licence)
So, which Wacom device should you get?
|Remote Teaching||Wacom One||Large screen, Ease of use, Ability to have 2 desktop screens to work from.|
|Classroom Teaching||Wacom Intuos||Bluetooth connectivity gives you the freedom to wander the classroom.|
|Portability||One by Wacom||Small size, yet powerful functionality, one cable needed only, works instantly with Chromebook|
|Teaching creative subjects||Wacom One||Lots of great bundled software, HD screen built in.|
|Student Use||One by Wacom||Inexpensive, easy to use, small size, works instantly with Chromebook|
Teaching apps Wacom for Education devices work with
Very recently (December 2020), Wacom announced a big partnership with 5 of the most used educational apps to further enhance their “Wacom for Education” Initiative. I will be writing more on these partnerships in a future post.
Here is a brief introduction to the 5 apps that come bundled with the three Wacom devices we have discussed in this article.
Wacom and Collaboard
This web-based app utilises a collaborative whiteboard that benefits from endless canvases and the ability to import docs, slides, powerpoints, videos, images and PDFs etc. It can be either used for remote collaboration or for teacher-led instruction.
Wacom and Explain Everything
Explain Everything is a recordable digital whiteboard for real-time collaboration and video recording. It can be used for Sharing video lessons, collaboration or live casting. It features infinite canvases and predefined or custom templates.
Wacom and Kami
Kami is Japanese for paper and is an educational PDF editor for teaching and virtual classrooms.
Its features include integration with Google Classroom, Schoology and Canvas. Kami lets you distribute assignments with audio, text or video comments and has the ability to take in assignments, mark them and hand them back to students
The Kami interface looks like this:
Wacom and Limnu
Limnu is an online whiteboard with integrated video conferencing that enables collaboration in real-time from any device. It is capable of many functions, including: annotation on top of imported documents, multi-user navigation and presence, collaborative or solo modes
The Limnu interface looks like:
Wacom and Pear Deck
Pear Deck is an educator-founded company on a mission to help teachers create powerful learning moments for every student, every day. With award-winning instructional tools that integrate seamlessly with Google and Microsoft classroom technology, Pear Deck’s student engagement platform is used by schools across the globe to foster connections with learners of every age and ability.
As a full time teacher who has been lucky enough to use the three Wacom hero products to teach my remote lessons for the last month or so, I am incredibly impressed. All three models have a definite role to play and will undoubtedly make remote teaching easier for all teachers.
The addition of their partner apps is the cream on the top of an already very tasty cake!
The cherry on the top, therefore, will be, as is always our mission, the fact that the Wacom for Education initiative and their hero products will help our students get the most out of our lessons.
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