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Notecards: a potential Pen Tablet application

The Pen Tablet feature of the XO is currently unsupported. When the tablet mode is ready, it will bring a world of new capabilities to the XO. If it is not practical to begin implementing any given application, it is at least worthwhile to begin discussing the possibilities. Indeed, there is dialogue over questions such as how to reconcile the fact that the tablet is not of the same dimensions as the screen. Coming up with a solution canvas-larger-than-tablet problem is a major obstacle in the path toward tablet support. However, there is also the case in which the tablet is of sufficient size relative to the canvas. In particular, consider the case in which the canvas is the same size as the XO's tablet. If the tablet input is mapped to a surface that is the same size as the tablet, the result can be thought of as a notecard of the tablet's dimensions. Such a notecard could be useful in any situation in which actual notecards are useful. This concept of a notecard could be implemented as a library, and then activities could be written which use this library. Possible activities include:

  • Study aid: A user writes prompt on one notecard, and a response on another. These notecards are then associated as a Question-Answer pair. Interestingly, users of physical notecards are constrained to cards of two sides, but XO notecards would not experience this limit. User's would enjoy the benefits of their own handwriting from physical notecards, and of automated scheduling from spaced repetition software such as Mnemosyne.
  • Note taking: Notecards would allow for a powerful piece of notetaking software. A note-taking activity could be written which would allow you to navigate your notecard collection using the keyboard. A benefit of notes taken on the laptop over paper is that the XO could account for changes. For instance, in Physics classes students often draw diagrams which illustrate solutions. These diagrams are divided into steps which build upon previous steps. The final diagram represents the solution, but the individual steps are lost. The XO could keep track of each version of a notecard.
  • Games: There are many games that could be written using a notecard library. Telephone Pictionary is a combination of the Telephone game and Pictionary. The first player writes a sentence, the second players draws a representation of this sentence, the third player writes a sentence to describe this drawing, the fourth player draws a representation of this sentence, etc.
  • Notecard based journal: Users could draw small memos and link them together into a journal. A longterm possibility is that users could search this journal by shapes they have drawn.
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