Wednesday, 27 November 2013

What a difference a year makes - smartphones and tablets come of age.

In August 2012 I wrote a post entitled "Computers for serious work - tablets and smartphones just don't cut the mustard". Does this still stand?
No. I find myself producing more and more on my tablet and doing SOME work on my smartphone. What has changed?
  • Input: the input options, going beyond the tiny keyboard on the screen, have made it possible to note-take and post. SwiftKey has been the key for me to really get going with this. My Samsung tablet now can take in text at a surprisingly fast rate AND, for the most part, accurately. And as in all good software, it is learning and improving its performance. Also, voice input (dictation?) is now much more accurate.
  • Multi-tasks: I can move from one app to another for information or copy-paste. This enables a composite note or post to be made - it is still slightly iffy but seems to work for many apps, particularly in the Google suite.
  • Google Keep: as a note taking software, from which you will do something else later, is ideal (produce a document, make a presentation, etc). Simple, quick and effective, with no frills, words ready to be thought about, rephrased, improved upon. And it works without a connection, waiting for one to synchronise later.
Observing students in class, however, I can see that the advantages of good typing skills  are evident. Students can look up, pay attention to speakers, videos, presentations, yet keep note-taking without glancing at the keyboard. I am not at the "touch-typing" (touch-swiping?) with SwiftKey yet so still prefer the keyboard for extended work.