HP Technology Grant for Teaching overview
Impact on Teaching
The goal of this project was to enhance student learning by recording lectures and all classroom activities using the software Dyknow and tablet PCs. Also a goal was to evaluate student understanding and progress by requiring students to solve problems using the interactive nature of the software Dyknow and the inking functions of tablet PCs.
The original assumption that introducing this technology into the classroom was going to automatically improve student learning was clearly wrong. Both instructors realized that lectures using Dyknow and tablets did not improve student understanding. On the contrary, the lack of eye contact during lectures seems to negatively affect communication between instructors and students. However, during the interactive part of the classrooms, such as solving problems, all students participated.
This type of class activity was evidently more effective than in a traditional class. For this reason, the second year of the project will be based on prerecorded lectures that student will watch and study outside classes. Class time will be used almost exclusively for interactive sessions like solving problems.
During the first year of the project the technology was implemented as follows:
- The IT department prepared a special classroom and all tablets to distribute to participating students. They were distributed to students at the beginning of the semester and remained in their possession until the end of the semester.
- All the students of thermodynamics were divided in two groups. Both groups had similar average GPAs and distribution of GPAs.
- Instructor prepared Power Point slides for every lecture. These were delivered to students in class using the software Dyknow.
- The software was also used to record lectures, deliver quizzes, and create interaction between instructor and students.
- Exams, homework, quizzes and all graded work were the same for both parallel courses.
During the second year of the project, the technology will be changed as follows:
- During the summer the principal investigator is video recording all lectures using the inking features of the tablet pc and the software Camtasia.
- Again two groups of students will be separated in two classes with similar average GPAs and similar GPA distributions.
- Students will receive tablets during classes.
- Students will be asked to watch prerecorded lectures before classes.
- Students will solve problems during class time using the inking functions of the tablet PC.
- Student understanding will be evaluated during classes using the features of Dyknow for this purpose.
- Exams, homework, quizzes, and all graded work will be the same for both parallel courses.