Friday, August 2, 2013

Windows 8 Tablets are here!

The Windows 8 tablets have arrived for teachers 6-12 in Brandon Valley School District. Windows 8 might be a new experience for some of you, so I thought I would share some Windows 8 tips and tricks to get your started. Since Windows 8 is the device BV chose, I will be covering it a lot more in-depth in the coming weeks as school nears, but as I relax in the Black Hills, I felt moved to share some quick tips now that would help us get going with our device.
 Windows Screen 
The windows screen is the main screen that you will use to go to various places. It has all your apps and programs. Whenever an app is downloaded, it pops up on the windows screen. Simply swipe left to right or right to left to scroll through all your windows apps/programs. Downloading Apps To download apps and add them to your windows screen, touch or click on "store" to search for apps you may need or want.
Enabling/Disabling Touchpad
One frustration that I have experienced so far with the Windows 8 tablet is with typing. When typing, my right thumb hovers too closely to the touch pad so during my typing, the mouse jumps away from where I'm currently typing, and I begin typing in the middle of a previous sentence. This is annoying. To prevent this, simply push FN+F5. Pushing these two buttons at the same time toggles the touchpad off and on. When the touch pad is disabled, it won't work so the mouse won't jump all over when trying to type. Simply turn the touch pad back on by hitting FN+f5 again.
The Windows 8 tablet is unique because it has a keyboard and it's a touch screen. It's a cool combination. It's important to understand the "swiping" of the screen. To access options, put your finger on the "black" edge of the right side of the tablet screen and swipe to the left (going from the black to the screen). This will allow options to pop up that you might need to use, specifically the "windows" button which brings you back to the windows screen. You can also access the windows screen by pushing the windows button on the keyboard. It's 4 squares. Swiping from the bottom of the tablet up, essentially going from the bottom black area up into the screen also provides other options in various apps and programs. Swiping from the left edge black into the screen allows you to go back to the apps/program you were just using. When looking at the windows screen, you can "pinch" your fingers together while touching the screen to zoom out and see all of your apps. This will be helpful once your tablet gets many, many apps.
The camera is located on the windows screen and can by accessed by clicking it or touching it. To take pictures with the tablet connected to the keyboard, press the space bar. To take pictures with the tablet disconnected from the keyboard, simply push the screen.

Coming Up
This is just a start. In the next Windows 8 post, I will discuss Skydrive, disconnecting the screen, understanding the Windows screen more
and start talking about activities you can do with your students. My biggest suggestion would be to just start touching the screen and trying out all the options/features. This is the best way to learn because you are discovering it yourself, not just being told. Kinda like what we want our students to do...

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