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Case Study Of The Pedagogical Impact Of Tablet Pcs As A Presentation Medium In Large Scale Engineering Classrooms

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Innovative Curriculum Developments

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.295.1 - 10.295.12



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Paper Authors

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Greg Walker

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Sean Brophy

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session XXXX

Case study of the pedagogical impact of tablet PCs as a presentation medium in large-scale engineering classrooms

Sean P. Brophy1 and D. Greg D. Walker2 1 Department of Biomedical Engineering, 2Department of Mechanical Engineering Vanderbilt University, Nashville TN


New information technologies promise to enhance engineering instruction by facilitating the learning process. A preliminary study examines the use of a tablet PC as a presentation platform for problem-solving methodologies used in a fourth year Mechanical Engineering class of 50 students. Typical presentation methods used in large- scale classroom settings can inhibit students’ ability to follow their instructor’s thought process because either the format is too small to be viewed effectively by the entire class as in the case of whiteboards, or too static to illustrate the problem-solving process as in the case of overhead projection of transparencies or prepared Powerpoint slides. Tablet PCs connected to large-screen projection systems offer one solution for presenting material in a large-scale format while maintaining a dynamic presentation. We evaluate the potential of this classroom technology by considering both an instructional point of view and a learning point of view. In terms of instruction, the pen based tablet PCs offer several inherent advantages such as natural inclusion of complex digital media (graphs and charts) along side active concept development (instructor annotations). In other words, the instructor can make their thinking visual by maintaining a real-time mixture of complex engineering concepts and expert annotations. In addition, the instructor 1) is mobile, 2) can face the class and 3) does not obstruct the view of the material as it is presented. These logistic features provide a more fluid and coherent lecture, which should promote information gathering and understanding of the material by a student. In terms of learning, a student’s comprehension is presumably enhanced due to the synchronization of note taking with verbal descriptions of the material. To test this hypothesis, a survey and focus group were used to determine students’ perspective on the effects of the Tablet PC on their comprehension and learning compared to other classroom experiences that did not utilize the new platform. Results of the pilot study suggest that students are more likely to pay attention during the lecture and recognize the more salient points of the presentation. However, students who indicate that their prior knowledge is not sufficient to understand the basic were neutral on the benefits for using multimedia on the Tablet PC which may indicate that more needs to be done to prepare students for lecture. Overall, the findings are encouraging, and more research needs to be done to assess

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Walker, G., & Brophy, S. (2005, June), Case Study Of The Pedagogical Impact Of Tablet Pcs As A Presentation Medium In Large Scale Engineering Classrooms Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15120

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