This post is sponsored by XP-Pen, manufacturers of a range of drawing tablets for artists, students, and other creative professionals. They have tutorials and eLearning resources for teachers here and are also Chromebook-compatible. You can read more about our affiliate and sponsored content policies here.
XP-Pen’s Deco mini7W ($59.99)is light, portable, and WiFi-ready. The Star G640 ($39.99) is a also great primary-level option as it is designed for gameplay, writing, drawing, and sketching at an inexpensive price. Older students may benefit from the Deco 01 V2 ($69.99) with its bigger surface and more space to create and problem-solve.
The XP-Pen Drawing Tablet: Features & Benefits
by TeachThought Staff
XP-Pen offers bulk discounts for schools and districts. See here for more information.
Tools for the modern classroom have significantly developed and expanded in recent years.
Much of this has to do with fluctuating learning priorities where critical thinking and problem-solving skills for a future-ready, tech-savvy student body are given precedence. These learning priorities are met with increased blended learning methods that combine in-person instruction with online experiences.
These methods can be diverse: face-to-face, flipped classroom, eLearning, remote learning, and more, but they all require technology to reap the benefits of a connected learning environment. Further, 1:1 learning environments (where each student has access to a personal electronic device) are tied to positive outcomes like increased student engagement, more personalized learning experiences, and improved communication between students and teachers. In short, the modern classroom requires students to have access to connectivity through technology.
The Tools Of Mobile Learning
However, technology does not look the same in every classroom, and it continues to adapt. Many schools have proceeded through various stages of student tech, from BYOD (‘Bring Your Own Devices’) to iPads, to Chromebooks. However, despite the technology, many educators often have difficulty offering flexibility and spontaneity within their blended learning instruction. Likewise, it can be difficult for students to articulate their imaginations, creativity, observational skills, and overall expressiveness with many tech tools.
Thankfully, there are technology companies offering more niche educational tools to insert some flexibility, spontaneity, and creativity into the blended learning environment. One such company is XP-Pen and their series of tablets. These tablets differ from other tablets like iPads because they are distinct writing and drawing tablets able to be connected to many kinds of monitors and displays (including Windows, Mac, and Android systems).
The XP-Pen tablets allow users – teachers and students alike – to hand-draw or write notes, diagrams, and graphics. Further, the technology lets teachers not only develop, but also clearly explain lesson components while providing the ability to visibly reply to student responses (which is shown to greatly boost comprehension, retention, and overall teacher-student communication). Plus, the tablets are cost-effective for schools concerned about their 1:1 investment; their Star G640 tablet, for example, is priced at $39.99 and Chromebook-compatible.
What Is The Best Drawing Tablet?
The best drawing tablet depends on who’s using it and why. Integrations, for example, are crucial for any use-case. Cost, portability, operating system, features, and dozens of other factors contribute to what would be ‘best’ for you in your classroom.
In addition to being well-suited for a variety of displays, XP-Pen creates their drawing tablets with wide integrations to accommodate a range of mobile learning platforms like Zoom, XSplit, Twitch, WizIQ, Idroo, Scribblar, Udemy, and DingTalk. It’s also easy to use the tablets with Microsoft Onenote, PowerPoint, and interactive whiteboards. Additionally, they allow for broadcasting to social media and screen sharing during live meetings and classroom sessions.
The wide compatibility of XP-Pen tablets also makes them great for developing pre-recorded videos and lectures, in addition to real-time learning. Teachers can create interactive content, then use the tablets to write, edit, and annotate on the screen to make concepts clearer, much like Khan Academy-style videos.
The XP-Pen tablets are effective for the student population as they are fairly small, relatively durable, and have a battery-free stylus (so charging won’t disrupt instruction). In fact, the stylus also functions as a mouse, helping to relieve wrist pain that can often occur from using a traditional mouse. The stylus also allows educators and students to write, draw, and create with digital ink using over 8-thousand levels of pressure sensitivity. The stylus on the Deco 2 and Artist 12 even feature an eraser on the end, functioning completely like a high-tech pencil.
At $69.99 MSRP, the XP-Pen Deco 01 V2 supports connections with Android device 6.0 and above. [affiliate]
Ways To Use The XP-Pen For Learning
There are so many practical applications for the XP-Pen tablet technology, from early elementary through high school. For example, in early elementary ELA classes, teachers can use XP-Pen tablets to underline or highlight specific vocabulary to emphasize or have students take turns diagraming sentences in real-time. For high school math, physics, or chemistry classes, the tablet can easily be used to write out complex formulas, create graphs, and demonstrate the problem-solving process. Younger students may benefit most from XP-Pen’s Deco mini7W ($59.99) as it is light and portable, and WiFi-ready. Likewise, the Star G640 ($39.99) is a great primary-level option as it is designed for gameplay, writing, drawing, and sketching at an inexpensive price. Older students may benefit from the Deco 01 V2 ($69.99) with its bigger surface and more space to create and problem-solve. [affiliate]
The right drawing tablet for children will likely be different than the best fit for professional artists. Using a drawing tablet in the classroom isn’t just for drawing or note-taking. Used correctly, these tools are a means to provide more immediate learning feedback. This is helpful for feedback loops as students can affirm their understanding of a concept in real-time through sharing work samples or immediately writing answers to questions. Likewise, teachers can correct these answers on the spot, leading to a more interactive and collaborative online learning experience.
One of the most compelling features of XP-Pen’s drawing tablets is their emphasis on creativity and personalization. In fact, the overall goal of the technology is to help students master skills, explore new ideas, and confidently foster their creativity. For example, the technology makes sketchnoting, or visual notetaking, simple in the virtual environment. This method involves adding visuals or sketches to classroom notes to tap into parts of the brain that would remain otherwise inactive. As a result, students deepen their understanding of a concept by visually organizing ideas to make them easier to remember. In addition to allowing students to sketchnote virtually, the XP-Pen tablets enable students to share their notes with teachers and classmates for further brainstorming and collaboration. Likewise, XP-Pen tablets are also great for teaching traditional notetaking. Teachers can live-model concept maps, outlines, charting, and Cornell Notes to teach students to identify key vocabulary, processes, and concepts during virtual class time.
Perhaps the most exciting benefit of the XP-Pen tablets is how they allow students to incorporate artistic expression into their eLearning, remote learning, or flipped classroom. Working on live problem-solving during class time can become a means of expression for students using the tablets, as they are able to draw, incorporate color, and create with realistic lines and strokes. The potential for creativity, combined with the potential for more interactive and collaborative online learning experiences, makes the XP-Pen tablets effective and versatile tools to take mobile learning to the next level.
You can learn more about the XP-Pen Digital Writing Tablets in the video from the developer below.