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Handheld Computers To Enhance Active Learning In A Digital Systems Course

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Conference

2002 Annual Conference

Location

Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Laptop/Handheld Computing in Education

Page Count

5

Page Numbers

7.601.1 - 7.601.5

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/10818

Download Count

29

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Paper Authors

author page

Robert Avanzato

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

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Session 1620

Handheld Computers to Enhance Active Learning in a Digital Systems Course

Bob Avanzato Penn State Abington

Abstract Penn State Abington has integrated the student use of handheld computer technology to foster active and collaborative learning experiences in the classroom and laboratory in a sophomore-level introductory digital systems course in the fall of 2001 and 2002. The handheld computer provided each student with access to useful course material and tools, which enhanced the learning experience in and out of the classroom. Additionally, teams of students explored innovative uses of handheld computers in a variety of applications including robotics, GPS systems, music, and circuit design. Based on data from a student survey, the handheld computer was judged to be a useful educational tool.

1.0 Introduction Penn State Abington has integrated the student use of handheld computer technology to foster active and collaborative learning experiences in the classroom and laboratory in a sophomore-level introductory digital systems course in the fall of 2001 and fall of 2002. Penn State Abington has also integrated handheld computers into the Information Sciences and Technology (IST) undergraduate curriculum, robotics instruction, and a French language course [1]. The handheld computer is an inexpensive, personal digital assistant (PDA) that supports database, spreadsheet, document viewing/editing, graphics, programming, personal organization, and web-browsing software. Through support from Palm, Inc [2], Palm PDA technology was introduced into an introductory digital systems engineering course for 24 students in the fall of 2000 at Penn State Abington. The digital systems course covers topics in number systems, logic gates, Boolean algebra, combinational and sequential logic, state machines, memory concepts, and programmable logic devices. These engineering students evaluated and developed handheld software tools for enhancing active learning and instruction in both the lecture and laboratory components of the course. Databases, simple CAD tools, C programming, image capture, web-based tools, and robotics applications were explored. Electronic quizzes and distribution of notes and web resources were also supported. The ability to transfer software applications and data from one Palm unit to another using the infrared beaming feature facilitated a collaborative approach to many activities. The Palm devices also possess a serial port, which allows connection to data acquisition systems and other computers. A second phase of the project occurred during the fall of 2001 offering of the digital systems course. In this phase, 39 students were required to purchase a Palm OS- compatible PDA to be used regularly in the classroom and lab sessions to promote active

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Avanzato, R. (2002, June), Handheld Computers To Enhance Active Learning In A Digital Systems Course Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. https://peer.asee.org/10818

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