Where are the acaedmic Tablet evangelists?

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Jim Forbes, founding producer of DemoMobile, recently attended an education conference and was quite pleased to see “a lot of academic IT professionals evaluating and using pen-enabled convertible PCs.” He was disappointed, however, that there weren’t more OEMs evangelising Tablet PCs in the classroom. He does give the nod to HP, Fujitsu and Gateway.

Actually, in the education conferences I’ve attended recently I’ve noticed an increase in Tablet exposure. Yeah, the OEMs don’t flood the floor with sparkling Tablet PC evangelists, but there are some–like Jim found from HP. I’ve also noticed a marked improvement in Tablet knowledge from the exhibitors themselves. This is a very good thing. Jim’s right though, there’s still room to expand Tablet marketing. Don’t forget though, that Tablet sales are still relatively small compared to all the other things the OEMs sell, so at least for this past year, Tablets typically didn’t get the front and center treatment that you think they might at an education conference. (As an aside at NECC this year, Gateway had a huge Tablet PC booth that was front and center.)

I’ve also run into several educators at recent conferences that are themselves Tablet evangelists. ASU’s Chief Information Officer Emeritus, Bill Lewis is one. He loves his Gateway Tablet. Ken Collura of Bishop Hartley School is another. In fact, if you want a real good look at the cutting edge of pen-computing in the academic world, check out the Workshop on the Impact of Pen-based technology in Education. This workshop isn’t sales and marketing biased, but it is a great opportunity to see what some leading edge schools are doing with Tablets. Amazon has the conference proceeding from last year’s conference.

[Link found via Gottabemobile]