Back when I was in Jerusalem I had this amazing little whiteboard that was the perfect size for me. During tutorial sessions I’d whip it out on a moment’s notice, start drawing stuff and put it up in front of my webcam. When we started packing our things to move back to Canada last December there just wasn’t room for it, so I left it back in Jerusalem. “Surely I’ll be able to get a new one in North America”, I thought.
Well I come back to the land of big box stores and huge consumer choice and I couldn’t find a decent replacement anywhere. It was ridiculous: everything was either too small, too big, or screwed into a wall. I had to settle for buying this green monstrosity that was about a metre long and was super unwieldy. By the end of a night of tutoring my arms were sore from holding the damn thing up.
There had to be a better way, I thought. So a little while ago bought a drawing tablet from Wacom. The bamboo pen.
I tried it for about 10 minutes, found it immensely frustrating and put it away. I mean, it was good for painting trees and clouds and so on, but not exactly what I needed for drawing molecules.
A week later I was at my local Mac dealer looking into trying to buy a more updated tablet that would actually do the job. Then I realized my problem – I had been using Corel Painter instead of actual tablet drawing software (nobody has ever accused me of being technically proficient).
Five minutes with Moo software’s Tablet Draw and I was in love.
About a month ago I finally stopped lugging around my whiteboard, and started using the tablet draw for teaching on Skype. Everything looks – and feels – so much better.
So far haven’t had too any complaints about the old “show the whiteboard and then take it away” technique. Plus I can save the files after the session is done and email it to the student afterwards. And it’s easy to make pretty pictures.