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Implementing A Tablet Pc Requirement Program

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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

Software and Hardware for Educators II

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.695.1 - 14.695.12

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Paper Authors

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Joseph Tront Virginia Tech

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Kimberly Filer Virginia Tech

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Glenda Scales Virginia Tech

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Jane Prey Microsoft Research

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

Implementing a Tablet PCs Requirement Program Abstract

Tablet PCs are one of the newest innovations in the computing and communications world and have the potential for significantly improving the way in which faculty members teach and the processes involved in student learning. The College of Engineering at Virginia Tech decided to require that all incoming freshmen be required to own their own tablet PC starting in the Fall of 2006. This paper describes the process by which the College arrived at this decision as well as the benefits of this initiative seen to this point. We also discuss the various processes involved in implementing the requirement program including faculty and staff training, development of the necessary support infrastructure, establishment of working relationships with hardware and software vendors needed to support this pioneering venture, and the assessment activities needed to measure the effectiveness of the overall process and its demonstrable changes in the way in which faculty teach and students learn. Tablet PCs consist of a standard notebook PC configured with a screen (tablet/slate) which acts as both a display and an input device. A stylus or pen can be used to input standard mouse-type commands as well as gesture commands and electronic ink drawings. These combined features hold the promise of facilitating dynamic and broadly informed faculty presentations while at the same time allowing students to be more natural in their learning tasks such as note-taking and peer to peer collaboration. Several software packages are available to support the pedagogical needs of the engineering classroom as well as typical engineering group collaborative environments. These packages also allow for a highly interactive environment with both teacher-student and student-student bi- directional real-time interactions. This paper describes some faculty experiences using tablet- focused tools such as Classroom Presenter and OneNote in fundamental engineering courses Infrastructure and training needs for an undertaking of this magnitude are broad and diverse. Transitioning faculty from their current teaching techniques to tablet-facilitated instruction, as well as building the necessary organization needed to support the technical use of these devices inside and outside the classroom will be discussed in this paper. Furthermore, mechanisms for scaling and adopting the processes for use at other universities will be suggested to the audience. The Tablet PC requirement program has undergone extensive assessment to examine the effects of the new technology and the corresponding new pedagogical practices that the technology affords. Data have been collected using quantitative and qualitative methods including faculty and student self-report instruments, focus group discussions and quasi-experimental studies comparing courses taught by the same instructor – one in which interactive tablet exercises are used and one in which they are not. This paper discusses the results of the assessment and attempts to draw conclusions on effective practices afforded by the new technology tool.

Background Improving the teaching and learning environment through the effective use of educational technology has long been a priority of the faculty and administration of the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. Many teaching innovations have been initiated and implemented with support from the college administration, alumni, corporate entities, and from various

Tront, J., & Filer, K., & Scales, G., & Prey, J. (2009, June), Implementing A Tablet Pc Requirement Program Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas.

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