June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Computers in Education
14.1119.1 - 14.1119.13
Tablet PCs Features on a Budget
The usage of tablet PCs in engineering education represents a great step forward in improving classroom education. Numerous interactive demos can occur, and these activities can be recorded for student review. But this technology, while decreasing in price, can still be considered expensive if not made available to the faculty members by the Information Technology organization. Tablet PCs also suffer from reduced performance specifications versus comparable desktop or laptop models. However, even without the purchase of a tablet PC, certain benefits of the tablet PC system can be obtained through the usage of an inexpensive graphics tablet connected to the computer through a USB port. While typically used in graphic art environments, separate tablets can be used for interactive demos, assignment grading, and other activities which improve the classroom environment. This article explores the author’s experiences with such a system, whereby a separate graphics tablet is interfaced with a university issued laptop. Things gone wrong, as well as things gone right, with such a system will be developed.
1. Introduction In the past few years, there has been significant interest in the usage of tablet PCs in engineering education. Tablet PCs offer significant advantages for professors. Digital inking, interactive drawing, and grading have all been shown to be practical uses for tablet PCs by instructors1. Students like digitally inked lectures, as they can be rapidly made available for review after class in note and video form, and depending on the techniques used can be readily replayed as a study tool2,3. Through the usage of the proper software, interactive polling and quizzing of students is also possible4. Students also like the spontaneity and step by step development possible with Tablet PCs5. Thus, tablet PCs definitely have potential benefits in the engineering classroom.
But tablet PCs also come at a price, and that price is increased cost, lower performance, and long term reliability issues. Furthermore, in the institutional setting, many universities are not yet providing faculty members with access to tablet PCs for classroom usage, as IT departments already have difficulty with the number of systems installed on campus and are unwilling to support yet another platform. Is it possible to obtain the majority of the benefits of tablet PCs without the problems associated with tablet PCs?
2. Advantages of Tablet PCs From the instructors standpoint, Tablet PCs offer numerous advantages over traditional PowerPoint lectures and blackboard writing. While many articles have addressed using tablets in a lecture setting, the main advantages revolve around interactive lectures and improved grading.
Schilling, W. (2009, June), Tablet Pc Features On A Budget Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5794
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