I recently considered the technology I use and decided to upgrade my laptop. After spending an undue age trying to get the pen working, I settled on a Microsoft Surface Pro. It’s a pricey bit of kit, but offers much to the savvy English teacher.

Firstly, it’s minimum i5, so it’s fast and functional.

The HD is tiny, but can be expanded. Meh.

Its prime business is having an actual-working pen (don’t get me started on Acers…).

With the pen, you will be:

1) Recording answers in screencasting…
I can use both the visualiser and the share with one-note from the pen click. Result.

2) Finding exemplar texts, both made by students and elsewhere. As I said above, the ability to take snapshots and to share these via one notes or EverNote is also especially useful.

3) Annotating over PowerPoint. Again, very possible with the split screen functionality. Works especially well with the generic task choosing PowerPoint, as questions can be written etc.

5) There are some desktop apps for writing on a pen. Epic pen is decent and good enough quality. Again, this allows for some nice essay marking that can be uploaded via Screencast O Matic.

6) Writing answers in real time? As usual, this is where the quality lies. Going back over with a pen is useful, especially to show the editing process.

7) As with points 1 and 2, taking screenshots of essays and suchlike and tagging them in OneNote/Evernote with annotations. All part up of the upcoming ‘The Improvement Library’.