What is Wacom for Education and How Does it Help Teachers?

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If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught those the education sector anything, it’s that there are alternative ways of teaching. Teachers around the world have literally had to relearn their entire job.

Never before has the phrase “thrown in at the deep end” been more apt!

Luckily the cavalry was right behind us.

While we went to battle, some of the biggest tech companies in the world were waiting in the wings to come to our aid.

Yes, the usual suspects were there; Google Classroom, Microsoft teams et cetera, but some new faces have popped up when we needed them most.

Enter Wacom!

What is Wacom for Education

I think we can all agree that the best place for 99% of students to learn is in a classroom, right?

But…

We haven’t been able to do that have we. We’ve had to spend our lessons talking to our laptop screen, hoping our wonderful kids were taking it in and understanding those tricky concepts.

Well, Wacom came up with an answer; Wacom for Education!

“The pen is a powerful tool and it has been used in education for centuries,”

Faik Karaoglu, Executive Vice President of Wacom’s Branded Business

Wacom’s Hero Products

Wacom is highlighting three of their amazing devices as “hero” products for the “Wacom for Education” initiative. The three devices span distinct price brackets making at least one of them easily accessible for most people.

  • One by Wacom
  • Wacom Intuos
  • Wacom One

One by Wacom

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.

With a price tag of around US$60 (£35), it’s not going to break the bank.

While all three of these devices work easily with Windows or Mac OS operating systems (just download the most up to date driver during setup), the One by Wacom has been given “Works With Chromebook” certification from Google.

This means it works straight away with no extra set up needed apart from plugging it in!

Wacom Intuos

The second hero device is the Wacom Intuos. It comes in two sizes (small and medium), the smaller one can come with or without Bluetooth.

The Wacom Intuos does cost a bit more than the One by Wacom but it offers a higher level of functionality (especially for 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 One

The most expensive device in Wacom’s hero range is the Wacom One. At US$399 (£370) in the Wacom store, it costs a sizeable chunk of anyone’s salary or department budget but boy is it good!

Where the previous two models require the user to write on the tablet whilst looking at the screen, the Wacom One has the screen built into the tablet.

Wacom’s Partner Apps

Wacom is committed to their initiative to provide teachers and students with solutions to make their new challenge of remote teaching and e-learning a seamless one; to make the new, online learning environment as productive as possible.

In December 2020, Wacom announced a partnership with 5 of the most useful educational apps, most of which teachers have used many times before.

Combined with their 3 hero products, the following 5 edtech apps make for a powerful suite of tools that are both intuitive to use and accessible for everyone.

  • Collaboard
  • Explain Everything
  • Kami
  • Limnu
  • Pear Deck

With each of the three tablets, you get a complimentary 3 month licence for the 5 following apps, a decent amount of time to work out which work best for you.

Collaboard

This web-based software uses a collaborative whiteboard with endless canvases and the ability to upload documents, slides, power points, images, PDFs, etc.

Collaboard can either be used for remote collaboration or for instruction led by teachers.

After the free 3 months, a subscription will cost from US$6 per month.

Explain Everything

Explain Everything can be used for real-time collaboration and video recording, in simple terms it is a recordable digital whiteboard.

It can be used for video lesson sharing, collaboration or live casting. Infinite canvases and predefined or custom models are included.

An ongoing subscription will cost from US$6.99 per month.

Kami

Kami (Japanese for paper) is a web-based PDF annotation and markup tool for teaching and virtual classrooms.

You can highlight, underline, and strikethrough text in PDF and other document formats. You can add text boxes, shapes, and images. Kami is fully compatible with Google Drive and Google Classroom.

It can also fully integrate with Schoology and Canvas. Kami lets you handout assignments with audio, text or video comments and has the ability to take in assignments, mark them and hand them back to students.

After your free 3 month licence, your account will change to their free plan which has all the basic features included. If you want all the features, a teacher plan will cost US$99 per year.

The Kami interface looks like this:

Limnu (200w)

Limnu is a web-based online whiteboard with integrated video conferencing that enables collaboration in real-time from any device.

It’s powerful, real-time interface has many functions, including annotation on top of imported documents, multi-user navigation and presence, collaborative or solo modes.

Because it is web-based, it is compatible with any device!

Another great benefit is that after your 3 month trial, Pro account is only US$5 p/m

Pear Deck

Pear Deck was founded by educators like us and their mission is to help teachers create powerful “learning moments for every student, every day“.

I have to say, I think it is brilliant; I have been using it for the last couple of months.

I has won awards for it’s instructional tools that integrate seamlessly with Google and Microsoft classroom technology and is already used by schools across the globe to foster connections with learners of every age and ability.

It is definitely one to check out! When your free 3 months is up, it reverts to the free plan which is the one I’ve been using and has most of the features. However, an individual premium plan will cost US$149.99.

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Conclusion

Remote teaching and online learning in 2021, is lightyears ahead of where we were in early 2020. With great companies like Wacom, spearheading the charge, education globally has been given the injection of modernisation that in my opinion, it has really needed.

Initiatives like “Wacom for Education” not only help us teach to the best of our ability in our new remote environment but are paving the way for education systems to be ready for all the future holds.

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Paul Fulbrookhttps://teacherofsci.com
Paul Fulbrook (TeacherOfSci) is a Science teacher, writer and education blogger based in Brighton, England. He started teacherofsci.com to help support teachers everywhere with the everyday struggles that they are all faced with, both in the classroom and at home.