Bring Out the Artist in You! Working with a Drawing Tablet

Have you ever had difficulty explaining something through a lecture or a PowerPoint presentation? Ever wish you had a way to demonstrate something graphically at a distance beyond referring to pictures or diagrams?  Then using a drawing tablet just might be for you!

Drawing tablets can be used to write, to sketch, or to annotate just as you might in using a pen and paper.  In the case of writing tablets, however, what you draw will be digitized and will appear on your computer screen.  You can use a screen-capture program, such as Camtasia Relay, in tandem with the drawing tablet to record your drawing along with your narration of your drawing.  The final product will be a web-based tutorial that you can distribute to students and colleagues.  Here’s an example (click the image to view):

Created by Martha Driessnack, PhD, PNP-BC, Associate Professor, School of Nursing

If this type of demonstration looks familiar, it may be because of the popular Khan Academy videos, which founder Salman Khan originally created to tutor his younger cousin.  The general consensus is that these videos are simple and easy to follow, even when explaining complex subjects.

So, what do you need to make this happen?  You need a drawing tablet itself, a drawing application such as SmoothDraw, and a way to capture your work (i.e. Camtasia Relay).  The Teaching & Learning Center has these tools available for training purposes.  If this sounds like something you would like to try, please email or call the Sakai Help Desk ( or 877-972-5249) and we’d be happy to consult with you.

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