Spring 2011, Spring Break musings

well-deserved. . . .it has been a tough first half of the semester, lots going on. . . I am teaching a full load, in addition to being chair, which is a lot harder than I imagined. . . I am again, behind in my grading, but the second exam for my orgo students went really well, they really did an outstanding job!! Average was 80.0!! and I thought I had written a tough exam, they made me proud!!
This semester we are trying something old. The students do not have tablets. I do. I am trying to see differences and, boy, do I ever see differences. The first is the almost complete lack of willing engagement on the part of the students. If I ask a question I get virtually no responses. With tablets, I could ask a question and I would get 20 responses instantly. Students REALLY want to be anonymous! Classes are much more labored and I doubt is students are having as much fun as they did when they had tablets.

I also am noting that roughly a third of the students are checking out the Posted lectures on my Moodle site. . . most are looking at the PDF files, but not the DyKnow files, which suggests they are MAC users principally. Hmmm. . . .
Anyway, the Spring Break is almost upon us!


  • By Aaron, June 20, 2011 @ 7:31 pm

    It has been interesting reading about your implementation of Tablet PC’s in the classroom. It seems that there is a definite correlation between classroom engagement and tablet usage. I assume that many students already have laptops, why is it that interaction among this group is so low? Could it simply be that tablet pc’s have a certain novelty factor?

  • By Andrew French, June 21, 2011 @ 7:24 am

    Given that the structure of the class encourages students to participate actively in the class, using a laptop to view the dyknow panels provides no advantage when I ask them to reply with a drawing. Drawing chemical structures with a mouse is difficult, with a touch pad mouse, it requires two hands. Since i am presenting slides to two projectors, students this past year seemed to prefer looking up and physically copying notes to annotating my notes. . . Also 2/3rds of my class were MAC users and DyKNow is not MAc compatable without a emulator and I was shocked to find how few were interested in partitioning their hard drives to allow this. the Brand is strong with these folks. ..

    Fall 2011 is year four, novelty has certainly worn off. The version of DyKnow is out and I look forward to trying it. I am hoping DyKnow will eventually be available on Android platform, i am intrigued with the possibility of using the “New tablets” They are cheaper and have longer battery life. . . The stylus will be key, I think. . .

  • By Karen, August 10, 2011 @ 6:16 am

    I’m glad to find this site – it’s good to see that educators are moving forward with technology in an effort to keep kids engaged. We mustn’t forget that our kids are now growing up with this technology in their pockets, and using it in the classroom is a natural progression – epsecially since in many cases they will be expected to use them once qualified and in the field!

  • By Tim Martin, October 15, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

    It’s really interesting to see how far teaching tools have come. Thank you for this report.

    American International Student Centers Tim Martin

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