When I first started using iPad annotation software (Docerī, Splashtop) I tried out styluses (stylūs? the Latin teacher in me desperately wants fourth declension plurals to be used in English (even though stylus is a second declension noun, whose plural would be stylī, analogous to alumnus / alumnī); wouldn’t it be much better to say walrūs (walroose) instead of the awkward walruses?)) and didn’t love them. These were your basic stylūs, nothing fancy, and I didn’t feel like the trouble of carrying them around (or remembering to grab them) outweighed what they gave me.

A colleague of mine got some stylūs from Wacom and passed one along to me (thanks, HP), and I like it so much better. First is the heft of the stylus; it sits nicely in the hand and feels like an instrument / pen. It doesn’t fly around like those lightweight ones. And it seems, though I admit I’m not positive about this one, that it is pressure sensitive (or maybe the iPad screen is?) in that the harder you push, the thicker the line. When my students were using it yesterday, one student’s work had a thicker line and I commented that she had changed the weight of the line in the app. She said she hadn’t, so I assumed that she was pressing harder with the stylus, thus creating a thicker line.

The stylus that I’m using also doubles as a pen, i.e. stylus on one end, pen on the other, which is a great feature. I use pens so infrequently these days (because I use paper so infrequently) that to have the pen there when I need it is a more of a convenience than I expected.

The pressure sensitivity thing can work both ways. I’ve found sometimes that when my iPad Mini is propped in its case, because the prop mechanism is not locked in, if the iPad shifts upon contact with the stylus, the stylus does not register. But that is a relatively minor issue and one that is as much the fault of the case as it is of the stylus.

So overall I’m enjoying the Wacom Bamboo stylus. Check it out here.

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