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Using Tablet Pcs In Engineering Education

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Technology and Learning

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1430.1 - 10.1430.11



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Paper Authors

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Joseph Tront

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

Using Tablet PCs in Engineering Education Joseph G. Tront Bradley Department of Electrical & Engineering Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA 24061-0111


This paper describes the experiences of using Tablet PCs along with associated software, such as Classroom Presenter and OneNote, in a course entitled Introduction to Computer Engineering. Twenty tablet PCs were distributed in a classroom of 40 students. Students used the tablets on a daily basis throughout the semester to take notes, to respond to in-class exercises, and to perform work in small group projects. Active learning exercises, specifically facilitated by the new tablet PC technology, were devised by the instructor for almost every classroom session. Students were able to capture the instructors electronic ink notes made on PowerPoint slides and electronic whiteboards. Along with the instructor’s notes, the software also captures student electronic ink notes as well as e-ink input generated by other students. Throughout the course, students kept journals of their experience. Additionally, the performance of the Tablet PC group was monitored and compared to others in the sophomore cohort who took the course without Tablet PCs. In general, students were very satisfied with the use of the tablet PC and their ability to take electronic notes in a format that was natural to them – handwriting. There was also a notably higher level of active participation in classroom exercises through the use of the networked tablet facilities. Overall, students were more engaged in the classroom and were better equipped to review classroom material during their out-of-class study time. This paper will present results and observations from this experiment.


Tablet PCs are one of the newest innovations in the computing and communications world. These devices consist of a standard notebook PC configured with a screen (tablet/slate) which acts as both a display device as well as 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. Native tablet operating systems support the use of this new input capability allowing users to input basic commands and drawings, while also facilitating the development of innovative applications by software developers. Typical tablet PCs also include built-in wireless networking hardware that allows the user to relatively easily communicate in localized ad hoc networks or over the broader Internet.

Several tablet PC-specific software packages are available to support the pedagogical needs of the engineering classroom as well as typical engineering group collaborative environments.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Tront, J. (2005, June), Using Tablet Pcs In Engineering Education Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14745

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