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Integration Of Tablet Pcs Into Collaborative Learning Environments

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Computer Tools for Education

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.939.1 - 12.939.6



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Paper Authors

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Jeff Frolik University of Vermont

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

Integration of Tablet PCs into Collaborative Learning Environments


This paper presents the results of a project, ongoing since Fall of 2004 at the University of Vermont (UVM), in which university-owned, Tablet PCs have been integrated into learning environments where engineering students collaborate most frequently: namely, in laboratories and design courses. The primary objective of this work was to ascertain how mobile, pen-based computing can enhance both individual and team learning in these settings from both student and faculty perspectives. The working premise was that Tablets have added benefit, in comparison to laptops, since much engineering content consists of equations and diagrams, entry of which is cumbersome at best with a keyboard and/or mouse. A secondary objective was to ascertain how students would adopt and adapt to this new computing platform. Three distinct studies are discussed in the following pages.

Study 1: A First-Year Engineering Design Laboratory

Since Spring 2005, Tablets have been utilized in the laboratory section of a first-year engineering design course. This course is a requirement of our electrical and mechanical engineering majors. To date, ~250 students have utilized Tablets for a variety of laboratory activities as discussed below.

Implementation Students have used, under direction, Tablets for a variety of tasks including project brainstorming (pen-entry using Journal), CAD design (Solid Works), technical communications (PowerPoint), data acquisition (MeterView), and data analysis (Excel). The availability of this mobile platform also enabled laboratory procedures to be restructured as Tablet-based, PowerPoint presentations (vs. printed documents) with embedded detailed photographs, Internet links, etc. For example, one exercise requires students to assemble a simple wireless temperature sensor. As Figure 1. Students utilizing electronic illustrated in Fig. 1, the Tablets enabled the assembly manuals enabled by Tablet mobility students, working in pairs, to self-pace through the circuit’s assembly. Detailed pictures of circuit throughout its build are clearly represented in the screen images and further descriptions of components are included. For example, this particular circuit utilizes a 555-timer integrated circuit for which simulations are embedded in this assembly ‘manual’.

Frolik, J. (2007, June), Integration Of Tablet Pcs Into Collaborative Learning Environments Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1526

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