Kenrick J. Mock says he loves recording lectures for his classes using his tablet PC. And the associate professor of computer science at the University of Alaska at Anchorage also loves projecting computational problems using PowerPoint or the writing program OneNote.
What Mr. Mock does not love is the inability to point to a specific part of the problem for his class. “It’s always bothered me that the pen cursor is a tiny little dot,” he writes in his blog on technology and teaching. “The problem is that I like to use the pen to “point” at things as I give the lecture, but it doesn’t help if the class can’t see it.”
He looked, in vain, for a program that would enlarge the cursor. And finally he gave in, remembered he was a computer scientist, and wrote a program himself.
The result is PenAttention, and it turns that minuscule dot into a minuscule dot with a big colored spotlight around it. It’s a little more distracting to write with this kind of cursor, but his class can finally see what he is doing.
The program is free, works on tablet PCs running XP and Vista, and can be downloaded from a link in Mr. Mock’s blog post describing it. —Josh Fischman