Category ArchiveIn Class
From the realm of I-was-too-sick-to-remember-to-post-this-morning…
Many cities’ municipal WiFi networks have been plagued with teething problems that vendors and local governments are trying to work out. While the public-private model most of these networks use means that these issues should get resolved, it’s been clear for a while that muni WiFi isn’t a magic bullet that suddenly makes a city “high-tech” or solves all sorts of problems.
This reminded me of the many conversations floating around unanswered at school about the impact on our students of the long-awaited free WiFi from the city. We currently impose a network blackout for several hours in the overnight to try to keep students from staying up all night every night online (whether or not this works is another issue), but it would be completely futile if all our students had WiFi-capable machines and free WiFi from the city.
Ted Beck, Aurora’s chief technology officer, gets about 30 calls a day from residents wondering when free wireless Internet will be available in their neighborhood.
He wishes he could give them better news, but the estimate is usually in terms of months rather than days. A number of factors have slowed the deployment of the network, although it continues to grow.
Three classes using Tablet PCs in a 1:1 computing environment with DyKnow Vision and there is some transformation in and active engagement with the curriculum.
On Monday in class I used a mostly blank DyKnow notebook and an open Adobe pdf file of my lecture notes. Using the screen grab of Adobe Professional 8 I copied as image page after page of equations as I displayed them in DyKnow Vision to all the students. I then talked about them and expanded on the notes with the pen. Students seemed to follow the presentation and for the first day I think the technology was pressed a bit into the background. Still one student kept losing connection (a wireless issue?) and I did not notice many students taking many digital notes on the screen. I will have to follow up and make sure that they are not only taking notes, but saving the notebooks and going back and referring to them as needed.
I was able to use the minute paper (inside DyKnow) at the end to check whether they felt like they were on track and after reading and commenting I returned all the student submitted panels. I think they truly followed the presentation based on their comments. What was remarkable is all 8 students wrote about only the econometrics and not a word about the technology. Have they assimilated DyKnow this fast? Or at least until the next issue. They seemed to remain engaged, following the presentation on the screen and asking plenty of questions about the econometrics.
Keenan Dungey, Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield, has presented on his use of the Tablet PC in class (PowerPoint slides, Google HTML conversion). Among the advantages he lists:
- PowerPoint can save the notes I made during the lecture, which I can then post to BlackBoard
- I can switch from PowerPoint to other computer applications for projecting during the lecture (animations, LoggerPro data collection, Web resources…)
- I can sit down with the students in a discussion circle instead of standing at the whiteboard
- I can switch to other computer applications for projecting during the lecture (animations, Web resources…)
- I can quickly evaluate how well the computer is capturing my notes and make corrections
We used the polling feature to great advantage. DyKnow Vision allows for the anonymous polling (exactly like clickers) within the software. I pick a polling screen, decide what the possible answers are (A-E, T/F, Yes/No, etc.) and press request answers. In seconds all the students have answered and I can display the results.
Because it was so easy and anonymous to vote I asked again whether their strength of preference to change the group was very high, that is vote yes if you REALLY want or need the groups to be changed. This time the votes showed 8 NO votes. Within a minute I know that while 3 of the 8 wanted to change groups, no one had a strong preference and all in a way to allow total anonymity of the students.
For some reason one student lost wireless connectivity and this created a bit of hassle towards the end of the class, but the most amazing thing of the day was the students wouldn’t leave. One was getting up and I said at least ‘he; was leaving and he said if h didn’t have another class he wouldn’t. So whether it is the Tablet, DyKnow or the task at hand, the word for today is engagement.
Ocoee Middle School was the first public school in the nation to put Tablet PCs in the hands of students. During the 2002-2003 school year, we had a class set of Tablet PCs that the students on a seventh-grade team used every day in either math or reading. This was very successful. This year, we were involved in a national pilot with Microsoft, HP, and Holt, Rinehart and Winston. This pilot provided a Tablet PC for every student and teacher on one seventh-grade team. The 150 students on this team did not use textbooks. All of their learning resources were online. We have partnered with Florida State University to do some preliminary research on the impact on teaching and learning. The project has been exciting for students, teachers and parents.
(as seen in The Tablet PC Education Blog)
… I asked how many [students] expressed at the end of the survey that they wanted to have a Tablet PC for their own use in this class. Over half the hands went up immediately. Shortly after that we passed out the contractual loaner agreement for their signature and gave them exclusive use of a new Gateway M285-E Convertible Tablet PC for the remaining weeks of the term.
From this point forward the students will be able to use their Tablets in class as I use DyKnow Vision to complete the lectures and lead the discussion this term.
I want to know three things from this trial. (1) Does access to digital pen technology and supportive software enhance the students perception of learning. (2) Does this enhancement depend on the digital ink, or might laptops do just as well, and (3) should we continue offering Tablet PCs to students in class. In the last case, is it sufficient to have a cart of Tablet PCs to borrow during class or do the students have to have ownership of their Tablets?
I am particularly intrigued because he has this list of specific questions he wants to answer with this pilot, because he does not seem to be the type that always jumps on the latest tech bandwagon, and because of his earlier published works on technology use in teaching.
Lucky for me, at Elluminate we have customers and partners like Dr. J Ricky Cox at Murray State University in Kentucky, USA. I got on a web conference with him, hoping to get a few anecdotes about either pen computing or interactive whiteboards and his use of them with real time collaboration for a presentation I am working on.
I literally asked Dr. Cox one question, and here was his answer. (The content pretty is much unedited except to make it shorter.)
Dr. Cox talks about the advantages of using Elluminate for “Real-time Office Hours”—that is, for interacting with groups of students online in much the same way that he otherwise would in person during office hours. Specifically, he notes the ability to use audio, to “application-share” Journal to pull up class notes and to annotate and diagram, and to actually interact with the students rather than re-lecture.
The Bolles School in Jacksonville, FL is hosting Tablet PC Institute 2007, April 18-20, 2007. Though it appears that the registration deadline has passed, the site does have a number of examples of Tablet PC use in the classroom:
Faculty Tablet PC Program
All of our 150 faculty members have been using the Toshiba Tablet PC in their classrooms. Click here to download a journal viewer and then pick any of the following examples to see what they’ve done.
Journal Viewer downloadSince most of our Tablet software is Microsoft based the examples may not view properly in Netscape. Please switch to Internet Explorer if you find that problem. What the teachers are saying Lower School English Review Document Mark-up 4th grade fractions Note: The links below are quite large and may take some time to download Lower School Tablet Movie Tablet PC in Action Tablet Case Study Take a look at the Tablet Features
(as seen in The Tablet PC Education Blog)
Next week in the HP Online Speaker Series: “Using Tablet PCs and Pen-based Technologies for Mapping; Teaching Earth Science applications throughout an undergraduate curriculum”
I am pleased to announce our next online webinar!
Please join us on Wednesday, 28 March, 10:00am – 11:00am Pacific Daylight Savings Time for a live presentation and discussion featuring Mark Manone, HP Technology for Teaching grant recipient and Research Associate/Instructor at the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences Geospatial Research and Information Laboratory, Northern Arizona University.
Since discovering that Windows Messenger supports ink almost seamlessly, even to non-tablet machines, I’ve offered online help to more than a few far-off friends taking math classes (how does a math teacher end up with so many friends who are math-phobic and trying to pass a basic college math course for the n+1st time?). Giving this kind of help before was always hindered by the lack of an easy way to communicate mathematics online. Innovate, a “journal of online education,” recently published an article titled “Synchronous Chat and Electronic Ink for Distance Support in Mathematics” discussing the use of Windows/MSN messenger for distance communication between instructor and student in mathematics:
In the following pilot study, we investigate the mechanics of employing a freely available chat client (MSN Messenger) for the teaching of mathematics to distance students. The client incorporates an electronic ink function that allows users to directly post and edit mathematical formulae and diagrams while communicating synchronously, thereby avoiding the technological limitations noted by previous researchers. In this study we explore the benefits and the difficulties experienced by students and instructors in the use of the client, and we provide the results of a course survey in which students assessed the value of MSN Messenger for distance courses in mathematics.
(Free registration required to view full article.)