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The Role of Slate Enabled Technology in Collaboration

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Tablets Large and Small

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1342.1 - 25.1342.9



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Paper Authors


Ashley Robinson Virginia Tech

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Ashley Robinson is a computer science doctoral student at Virginia Tech. She has been working with the Instructional Technology team at Virginia Tech since 2010, where she provides faculty and student assistance on tablet PC integration in the higher education classroom.

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Catherine T. Amelink Virginia Tech

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Catherine Amelink serves as Research Analyst and Assessment Specialist in the Dean's Office, College of Engineering, Virginia Tech. Her research interests include factors in the educational environment that impact student success.

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Holly M. Matusovich Virginia Tech

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Holly Matusovich is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education. Matusovich earned her doctoral degree in engineering education at Purdue University. She also has a B.S. in chemical engineering and an M.S. in materials science with a concentration in metallurgy. Additionally, Matusovich has four years of experience as a consulting engineer and seven years of industrial experience in a variety of technical roles related to metallurgy and quality systems for an aerospace supplier. Matusovich’s research interests include the role of motivation in learning engineering, construction of engineering identities, and faculty development.

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The Role of Slate Enabled Technology in CollaborationInstructional technologies are widely used to improve classroom dynamics and fosterlearning. New modes of communication and presenting material through differentelectronic mediums can encourage interactions and exchanges between and amongfaculty and students, creating a more engaging learning environment. Recentadvancements in slate enabled laptop computers and smaller hand-held devices (e.g.,Tablet PCs, iPads, HP Slate 500s), and their impact on collaboration skills amongengineering undergraduates is an area in need of further examination. This paperdescribes the case study of an engineering course offered during a Summer BridgeProgram (i.e., STEP) at a Research I university that was undertaken to examine the roleof slate enabled technologies in collaboration between and among course instructors andstudents. Specifically, we looked at the use of the stylus (i.e., einking) and other featuresspecific to the Tablet PC (i.e., swivel screen) and how those options are used by facultyand students to facilitate collaboration in conjunction with instructional software (e.g.,DyKnow). Weekly observations were conducted of three class sections taught by twoinstructors. A total of four lessons, over a period of seven class sessions were observedusing a protocol that looked at the frequency of students use of the Tablet flip screen toshare ideas, content, and/or notes with peers, use of the stylus to draw diagrams or othervisual aids or to communicate ideas to other students, and students use of the stylus tocommunicate with the instructor. In addition, the protocol also looked at the degreecollaboration is instructor led or student initiated, how the instructor modeled Tablet useand what factors facilitated or impeded the use of slate enabled technology incollaboration. Findings reveal that instructional software that was available (i.e.,DyKnow) played a critical role in shaping student and faculty perceptions related to theusefulness of the Tablet and the degree to which the Tablet was used in collaboration. Inaddition, student behavior related to collaboration and how they employ instructionaltechnology and software is tightly coupled with instructor-modeled behavior. Resultshave been used to formulate training sessions for faculty and students that are beingrolled out this upcoming spring semester.

Robinson, A., & Amelink, C. T., & Matusovich, H. M. (2012, June), The Role of Slate Enabled Technology in Collaboration Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22099

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