You know every so often someone writes a simple blog post that when you read it makes you want to hit your head and say "how in the world did I not think of that?" Vicki A Davis did that today in her Cool Cat Teacher blog. No wonder she is one of the most linked to education blogs around. Vicki talks about the educational potential of Microsoft Surface. As Vicki says
The applications here for education are incredible! How about a word wall that changes depending on the class that is in your room. Think about the manipulatives potentials -- use them but NO clean up -- just a little Windex and wipe off the fingerprints!
Think about collaborative work as several students sort objects. Very little children sorting letters or words or images of shapes. Older students organizing individual images to create storyboards. OR maybe taking note cards and placing them in order for a presentation or the outline for a paper. Or perhaps interactively drawing lines to show relationships. Or annotating geometric shapes. Sure you can do some of that with a Tablet PC today but working collaboratively is going to be so much easier with these Surface devices.
I'm thinking that the potential in special education is also going to be interesting. Lots of special education students have either physical or processing differences that make traditional devices difficult. This new tool should allow them to visualize and manipulate things in powerful ways.
While the initial costs are high for educational uses that will change over time and then watch out.