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Getting Serious with the Bamboo Fun

Getting Serious with the Bamboo Fun

If you have been anywhere near a computer in the last few weeks you will be well aware that Apple have just announced their first tablet offering. The $400 device is apparently going to revolutionise our lives and how we interact with technology for ever.

One of the application showcased was an art package allowing you to draw and paint directly via “multi-touch” and create your own digital masterpiece. It made me consider the fact we have actually been doing this in schools for quite some time all thanks to the versatile Wacom Bamboo series. (Full review of the Bamboo Fun).

Firstly the word “Fun” in the title “Bamboo Fun” is definitely misleading. To me it suggests a toy like device not capable of serious productivity, ideal for students or kids who want to do a little bit of colouring in but nothing more ?

Wrong, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The Bamboo Fun is a serious digital input device at a price affordable in most family homes. The latest version offers multitouch and gesture support and is a perfect user interface for young children.

I know of one three year old who not only has got to grips with using the supplied pen buy also is able to produce stunningly awful finger paintings using the tablet’s double tap and finger support with the added advantage of no mess.

Don’t get me wrong we still in engage in the manual method of finger painting as the mess is all part of the learning but to be able to interact so easily with digital technology at the age of three is an opportunity not to miss.

As well as drawing and painting he can actually navigate the OSX operating system much easier than using the Mighty Mouse (as it is simply too big for his hand). The fact not only can he change the drawing colour but he can also change the brush in Artrage simply using his fingers thus allowing him to focus on being creative on screen.

The Bamboo fun just isn’t useful for the pre-school child engaging in their first interaction with digital technology it is an input device capable of producing highly professional graphics and animations in the right hands.

Gone are the days when we engaged in rostrum cameras and tracing paper to create our A-level rotoscope animations. High school pupils are no able to put their animation skills to great use using a mix of live film, the Bamboo Fun and Adobe Photoshop.

As you can see in this “rough” animation the student was able to create a consistent, smooth animation with a device that costs less than ?100. The fact the tablet offers support for sensitivity means the depth of contrast is produced by how hard he/she leans on the surface making using the tablet as close to the real life experience of using a pencil and paper as possible. (There is a tutorial on how to Rotoscope with a graphics tablet here.)

Although I have only address the far ends of the age spectrum a graphics tablet is a much easier and natural way to draw, sketch and enhance on a computer than the traditional keyboard and mouse. It would be useful in a wide range of educational scenarios from primary education, SEN, through to high end A-level / degree coursework.

I being creative with the Bamboo fun doesn’t offer enough entertainment for your young learner then there is always the Bamboo Dock Mini Apps to keep them busy. See the full list here.

If you are looking for a new piece of education technology than can open the creative doors at only ?86 the Bamboo Fun is definitely hard to beat.

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