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Tablet PCs, DyKnow®—a peek into classrooms of the future

HP grant establishes learning center, innovative teaching strategies at Cal State L.A.

Some comments from CSULA students introduced to Tablet PCs

Course EE244 (Digital Engineering):

“The Tablet project provided new challenges and a chance to do authentic projects with technology. ...It is directly applicable to [the] job.”

“Using the hardware...shows how much work is involved in doing something as simple as adding binary numbers; how complex it is and how all the components need to fit.”

“Content understanding was fantastic. We are no longer just using the textbook and reading the theory, but we are uploading it on the board, using the software; [it] helped all of us who are visual learners.”

“The hands-on aspect of the class was so encouraging. I felt like I was implementing [and] designing... I was not just reading a book.”

“I have taken a similar class before in a community college but this was unique. No teacher has ever provided such detailed materials online.”

Course Engr154 (Freshman Design):

“By using the Tablets we had the chance to make better animations for the midterm and final project, and [it] saved us a lot of time.”

“Note-taking was easier because I wouldn’t run out of space, and didn’t have to worry about forgetting my notes at home. Also, I didn’t have to print any papers because I could do the work on the Tablet PC and e-mail my work to the professor.”

“It made taking notes more enjoyable.”

Course EE454 (Biomedical Instrumentation):

“Overall, I really liked the Tablet PC. I thought it was a good learning tool for engineering courses.”

“Tablet PC was awesome....”

“Using the Tablet PC was a great experience and made the class more exciting and interactive.”

A close-up picture of a Tablet PC.

About 250 students attending Cal State L.A.’s engineering classes over the last two quarters didn’t need to bring pens and notepads to class or to raise their hands to ask the professors a question.

Through a $260,000 HP Innovations in Education grant, eight pilot courses—from freshman to senior level—have been revised using Tablet PC-based teaching strategies. Also, online virtual classrooms were created using DyKnow® streaming unit, allowing students to post questions online and to study using the archived lecture notes.

Picture of engineering major Eric Calderon using a Tablet PC.

According to project team leader Jane Dong, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Cal State L.A., “This is a glimpse into what most classrooms might be like in the near future. This project enhances student learning, offers excellence in curriculum and instruction, and expands the use of wireless technology in teaching and learning.”

What is a Tablet PC?
Described as a “hand-held notebook computer,” a Tablet PC has a flat panel with wireless capability and includes a stylus used to input data by tapping or writing on the screen.

What is DyKnow®?
DyKnow® is a classroom management system that allows educators to monitor numerous computers in wired and wireless classroom environments, and also provides students virtual interaction with professors and direct access to class materials.

As part of the HP grant project, an HP Collaborative Learning Center (HPCLC) was established on campus to:

1) extend collaborative project-based learning model to a broad spectrum of undergraduate/graduate courses;

2) stimulate the students’ interest in engineering and computer science for better retention and to enhance their hands-on design skills;

3) create multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary design/research experience;

4) collaborate with the National Science Foundation-sponsored IMPACT LA program to bring fun and inspiring engineering activities to high school/middle school classrooms.

The HPCLC includes a server to provide remote lab access, a dedicated mobile classroom to facilitate collaborative project-based and inquiry-based learning using Tablet PCs, as well as lab space to host hands-on project and research activities.

“With the support of HPCLC,” Dong said, “we expect to build long-lasting leadership that changes the teaching pedagogy in engineering and to create a friendly, supportive and involved learning community to help our students succeed and be better prepared to enter the workforce.”

Videos on the HP Collaborative Learning Center at Cal State L.A. and more:

Links to sites with related information:

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Last Update: 01/12/2016