Category ArchiveIn Class
Tom Farrell uses PowerPoint slides to summarize how faculty use Tablet PCs for 1:1 computing in the College of Business and Information at Dakota State University.Farrell described the tablet PC as a “smartboard on steroids” while speaking to faculty at Arkansas Central University.
Dakota State University students are issued tablet PCs (convertible laptops).
As I’d posted a bit ago, Steve Myers finished the Econometrics class in which he was experimenting with 1:1 computing. Since then, he collected and reprocessed comments from the students about the experience:
So the question posed in DyKnow was …Describe how the use of the Tablet PC has assisted your learning of econometrics.
I received many different statements in four broad categories: (1) about the lecture, (2) about reviewing notes, (3) about mobile computing, and (4) a couple of general comments. I have quoted them closely, but changed the writing to be of one style to help you read through this list.
The actual list of comments from the students is definitely worth reading.
Given the rash of instructors banning laptops in classrooms, it is good to see an article in a mainstream source like Yahoo! News encouraging people to rethink the use of technology and to make good/appropriate use of it:
So what does a classroom look like when laptops have been successfully integrated?Students are working individually or in small teams to solve engaging problems or answer compelling questions. They are synthesizing their own experience, ideas from the professor, and sources that they can find on the Web. They are talking with classmates, but they are also collaborating with people outside the classroom walls by e-mailing experts, posting to blogs, or editing pages on wikis (websites that allow users to add, remove, or edit content). The teacher has come down from the lectern and is moving throughout the room, watching what students are doing, asking questions, posing challenges, and brushing shoulders with the student who just checked the scores on ESPN.com.
Periodically the action is stopped. The teacher instructs the class to close their laptops, except perhaps one designated scribe. They talk. They share their insights, their solutions, and their obstacles. The Socratic exchange is fueled by the insights developed through electronic inquiry. The powerful face-to-face questioning isn’t competing with the laptops; instead, it depends on it. When the dialogue ends, the teacher encourages students to reopen their notebook computers and summarize the important points of the conversation. Sometimes the instructor is delivering content, but more often the teacher is helping students learn how to learn.
[as seen on Working in Ed Tech]
From The Tablet PC Education Blog: Evaluating Tablet PCs in Schools, a suvery given to instructors using tablets and the results:
Chris Clark posted an excellent survey instrument [PDF file] for evaluating use and opinion about Tablet PCs in schools. Two-thirds of respondents use their Tablet in every class and 100 percent use them at least an hour a day and would recommend Tablet use to others. …
Respondents ranked number 1 use as making live annotations as on PowerPoint slides during class and ranked number 2 as using the multimedia library during class. They ranked Internet Explorer and PowerPoint as numbers one and two software used.
And so, I have just received this new loaner X60 from lenovo. Over the next several months I will be teaching a graduate class at the UIC and experimenting with the tablet to explore what advantages it may have to offer to the pedagogical process. It is a very interactive class in management for public health professionals. The group will have extensive case discussions and work live problems to gain experience and feedback from both faculty and other group members.
Any ideas? Presentation software, spreadsheets and mapping are typically used in delivering this course.
As I’m staring down the barrel of 1:1 computing at my own school, I’m continually intrigued by the various case studies and reports and post-mortems—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Though I am inherently suspicious of case studies presented by the company selling the product under study, Microsoft’s Case Study of Bishop Hartley High School is worth reading. Here’s a snip from early on:
[Ken] Collura [the Director of Technology] didn’t like the classroom scenario of a teacher confronted by the backs of laptop screens, which makes eye-to-eye contact with students difficult and reduces personal interaction in the classroom. Students’ varied typing abilities and keyboarding noises were also considerations. More importantly, laptops did not provide the mobility and ubiquitous access to information Collura wanted for Bishop Hartley students. “The laptop computer requires a place to put it down and type,” he says. “I wanted a tool that would enable one-to-one computing: the idea is that a student could use technology all day everyday, anywhere, anytime, to facilitate learning.”
(originally seen on GottaBeMobile.com, “A Tablet PC Education Success Story”)
My intent to blog throughout this experience got way laid with the end of the semester pressures from school and elsewhere. The experiment is essentially over and the 8 students in my graduate econometrics course have now completed their last class using DyKnow Vision on their Gateway M285 Tablet PCs. Recall from previous posts that in about the 10th week of classes we assigned to each graduate student exclusive use of a Tablet PC. Overall I think this was a very successful experience and experiment and hope to reproduce it again.
Let me go on record as having always opposed laptops in the classroom (including when I was CIO of this university). I thought curriculum had to be bent badly to allow their use and find it ridiculous to see students shove their laptop aside just to take notes on paper. … I am a huge fan of instructor used computers in the classroom and I have used a laptop everyday in every course since 1995 or so. I did so to display my lecture notes and presentations to the students, adding a digital tablet and later the SMART Sympodia, and later yet again I used the Tablet PC so I could digitally whiteboard. But I found no need for students to have laptops in class.
In this 1:1 computing and econometrics experience, the success comes from the combination of the Tablet PC and DyKnow Vision. Students have the lecture notes or presentations displayed on their Tablet PCs and they can annotate them and take private notes by typing or with digital ink.
Thanks to a post on GottaBeMobile.com referring to meeting notes posted at Multi-faceted Refractions, I learned that a group of interested educators met in the north suburbs of Chicago this past week to talk about Tablet PCs and other related technologies. In poking around there, I found the Illinois Educator’s Tablet PC Roundtable Google group and the page there about the meeting. Somehow, this all slipped past me and seems to have happened quietly among a group of teachers with no intersection with my own varied professional circles. Hopefully, this group will lead to greater tablet use in the classroom.
Microsoft has place some excellent templates that you can download into OneNote. I have created my own templates that very closely resemble my planning pages in my paper day planner (which I tossed long ago). If you are using a Tablet PC then I suggest making your notes in ink. Leave them in ink as it is searchable in OneNote and it just seems more intuitive than typing. If you have a notebook PC or a desktop, simply type in the template.The wonderous thing about this is that you can archive your entire year in June and start a new file at the beginning of the next year. Simply make sure you have a section called “Planning” and tabs for each month of the year. Add pages for each of the days in the month. I actually have templates for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I can curl up in my chair and write using the wonderful ink system. I even add voice notes using the built in voice recorder to add more detail. Finally, if I’m ill (I haven’t missed a day in 11 years) I can simply select a page and e-mail it to our school admin assistant to print out.
While my teaching isn’t organized around this kind of planning, I am sure the Tablet PC would be good for all sorts of written lesson plans. I have, however, used my tablet to write out directions for colleagues who were subbing for me—the ability to seamlessly combine bits of handwriting, clips of worksheets, Virtual TI screenshots, etc. is very handy.