June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Computers in Education
12.1351.1 - 12.1351.9
Teaching Courses with Tablet PC: Experience and Student Feedback
This paper summarizes the author’s experience and student feedback from a sophomore level course on Electric Circuits that was taught using a Tablet PC in Spring of 2006. A Tablet PC (Lenovo X41) was used in the classroom, which was interfaced with a data projector. A screen capture software (Camtasia) was used to record voice and inscriptions on the screen of the Tablet PC. The classroom session was recorded as two files: a Camtasia video file which was converted to a movie file in the “Windows Media File” format, and a “Windows Journal” file for the screen writings which was converted to a PDF file. Both files were uploaded to the Blackboard Learning System within two hours after the end of the class. A detailed survey was conducted at the end of the semester on the effectiveness of using the Tablet PC in the classroom. Contrary to initial skepticism, student attendance remained normal throughout the semester, and students downloaded and replayed the movie files of lectures, and took printout of PDF files of classnotes. Students mentioned that by not taking classnotes during the live classroom session helped them concentrate more on understanding of concepts rather than transcribing the lecture. Movie files are a great supplement to classroom instruction since they can be replayed multiple times by the students to clarify concepts they missed in the classroom, or if they have missed a lecture altogether. From the instructor’s perspective, it was a great experience with better than expected student acceptance and classroom interaction.
Instructional methods have evolved over the ages from traditional writing on blackboard to the use of cellulose transparencies and overhead projectors to notebook computers and data projectors. The latest trend in instructional technology is the use of Tablet PCs and iPods in the classroom. In recent years, Tablet PCs are making its headway into classroom instruction at every level, from K-12 to colleges, as well as in business meetings of corporate America. In fact, Georgia Tech has recently announced that all engineering students must use a Tablet PC in the classroom.
The advantages of using of tablet PC in a classroom have been reported [1-11, 14, 15] by various educators in last few years. Frolik and Zurn  used the Tablet PC in an upper level Electrical Engineering course for both content development and presentation. Tablet PC was also used in  for several undergraduate courses in Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering, which clearly showed it facilitates collaborative and active learning, and allows the instructor to spend more time on explaining concepts rather than drawing figures. Brophy  compared classroom instruction using a Tablet PC with standard PowerPoint presentation and whiteboard; Tablet PC based class presentation showed better attention rate and better comprehension of the material. From the students’ perspective, note-taking is greatly improved if they use Tablet PCs as reported in  for a course on Precalculus. Tablet PCs are also being increasingly used in K-12 education, such as, [16, 17], and many more schools across the country. Ref  reported the use of Tablet PC in a zoo to assist visitors with visual and hearing disabilities.
Biswas, S. (2007, June), Teaching Courses With Tablet Pc: Experience And Student Feedback Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/1811
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