Writing Tools for Your Free Tech Check

Writing Tools for Your Free Tech Check: for your online interactive whiteboard, you can use Ziteboard.

Ziteboard Homepage

It’s free and easy to use. Actually, it’s quite intuitive. For anyone who’s ever used any writing software, it’s a breeze. What’s great is that there isn’t lag/buffering, and you can select your dashboard.

Blank Ziteboard with all the bells and whistles

I’ll send you a link to your Ziteboard immediately before your free tech check session. That way, you can learn how to use your online interactive whiteboard before your free session.

Ziteboard is the software you’ll want to use for math tutoring. The beauty of Ziteboard is that you can refer to your notes on any device at any time. So, right before your test, you can scroll through your phone to see how you solved that one math problem. Or, see the diagram and equation so you know how to set up the one FRQ on your test.

Actual Student Notes from session, pre-pandemic

We’ll be collaborating on your math problems in real time. At first, I’ll be doing more work. As you become familiar with the process, you’ll be doing the lion’s share of the math work. Over time, I’ll only make suggestions, correct mistakes, or do a sample problem. You’ll gain more confidence and experience doing the work. On quiz or test day, it’ll be just another math problem like you’ve done before during your tutoring session.

Writing Tools (Hardware) for Your Tech Check Session

ONE by Wacom (Tablet); links to Best Buy

For Ziteboard to work well for you, you’ll want a touchscreen of some type. Here they are in order:

1. Laptop or desktop with Wacom Tablet

You likely already have a laptop or desktop for use at home. If so, you’ll only need a USB port to accommodate a Wacom Tablet. These tablets are available on Amazon or Best Buy, and are the best bang for the buck in terms of technology tools for online math tutoring. Normally, they range in price from $30 to $60, and can be used for any kind of graphic design. For math tutoring, though, you’ll only need to be able to draw legible math problems and diagrams. If you don’t have great penmanship, you can use the text writing tool on Ziteboard.

*If you buy a Wacom Tablet, get the wired one. There’s less lag/buffer. This might not be an issue if you have a gaming (fast) rig.

2. Touchscreen Laptop with a Stylus

These can do well if you already have a touchscreen laptop and don’t want to buy a Wacom tablet. Just be sure you have a stylus or buy a stylus. They will improve your writing experience. Writing without a stylus is akin to finger-painting vs. painting with a brush.

Oh, and make sure your touchscreen has palm recognition. If not, buy a $2 cotton glove from your local drugstore. They do the trick.

3. iPad with Stylus

Even your old iPad collecting dust in the closet works fine. Just make sure it’s charged. AND USE A STYLUS. See comment about finger-painting vs. using a brush a few lines up.

By the way: it needn’t be an Apple Pencil. One of my students showed me his $5 stylus from Staples. I immediately went out and bought one as backup for my iPad.

4. Touchscreen using your fingers & 5. iPad with your fingers

You’ll only need to do this a few times before you break down and buy a stylus. Not only is is more accurate/precise to use a stylus, it’s also a lot easier on your wrist.

5. Apple TrackPad

I can’t believe it, but a couple of my students make this work. It renders potato quality resolution, but it’s legible. Long-term, though, invest in a touchscreen. Your trackpad will become burdensome if you use it for math at a higher level than algebra.

Final Notes on Writing Tools for Your Free Tech Check

You probably already have the tools for online math tutoring. At most, you might want to buy a Wacom tablet for about $50. After that, the software is free.

Now you know what you need. May you do well in your numerical endeavors!

By Martin

Martin McSweeney is a National Merit Finalist, Pomona College Graduate, and member of MENSA. He has worked at the Center for Talented Youth (Loyola Marymount University campus); Upward Bound (Harvey Mudd campus); various test prep companies; and Whittier High School. Now, Martin helps students of all abilities improve their relationship with math.