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Effectiveness Of Shared Tablet Pc Use On Facilitating Student Interactions

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Tablet and Portable PCs for Education

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.520.1 - 14.520.9



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Paper Authors


David Bowman Clemson University

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David R. Bowman is a Lecturer in the General Engineering Program within the Department of
Engineering and Science Education at Clemson University. He is also a Computer Science Ph.D
student in the School of Computing at Clemson University. His educational background includes
a B.S. and M.S. in Computer Engineering from Clemson University.

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Lisa Benson Clemson University

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Lisa Benson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering and Science Education at Clemson University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Bioengineering. Dr. Benson teaches first year engineering, research methods, and graduate engineering education courses. Her research interests include student-centered active learning in undergraduate engineering, assessment of motivation, and how motivation affects student learning. She is also involved in projects that utilize Tablet PCs to enhance student learning. Her education includes a B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of Vermont, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Bioengineering from Clemson University.

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

Effectiveness of Shared Tablet PC Use on Facilitating Student Interactions

Abstract The objective of this study is to examine how Tablet PCs affect the interaction between students when working in pairs on in-class assignments, and to study the effects of shared Tablet PC use on learning. Prior studies have demonstrated that engaging students in the learning process through active discussion and/or problem-solving with their peers improves learning. Tablet PCs allow students to engage in learning activities while using unique digital Inking and sharing capabilities.

In this pilot study, significant differences were observed between students working on paper and Tablet PCs (“Paper” and “Tablet,” respectively) in terms of the frequency of observations that students were working in pairs (36% for Paper vs. 50% for Tablet) and working by themselves (43% for Paper versus 24% for Tablet). The predominant activity for both groups was talking, followed by writing, reading and listening; no significant differences were observed for frequency of these actions. Scores on relevant test questions and in-class assignments were not significantly different between the two groups, nor were significant differences observed between these groups on motivation survey constructs. Students in the Tablet group agreed more strongly with the statements, “Collaborating with a partner on problems helps me understand concepts in this class,” and “I paid attention most of the time,” compared to students in the Paper group.

Tablet PCs effectively increased interaction between students working in pairs, and appear to promote positive interdependence for the students in this study. More long-term studies are being conducted to assess effects on learning and student attitudes over time, and to improve the inter-observer reliability statistics.


Pen-based technology is a powerful tool in engineering and science education, as it allows students to write freeform symbols, structures and equations. Students can work through problems, take notes, organize class materials, and store these materials electronically without an equation editor or concerns about formatting. Through a 2007 Hewlett Packard Technology for Teaching grant, our program has acquired 36 Tablet PCs for students to use for in-class activities.

Theories of meta-cognition show that when students verbalize their thinking, they are more conscious of their own understanding, and are able to identify inconsistencies in their problem- solving strategies1. When working in pairs, students must verbalize to each other the process they are following to work out a problem. Given these benefits, we encourage students to work

Bowman, D., & Benson, L. (2009, June), Effectiveness Of Shared Tablet Pc Use On Facilitating Student Interactions Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5139

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