Strategies for Effective Laptop use in Higher Education

Typically a lot more interaction in classrooms where laptops are pervasive.

Sound Pedagogical Theory – Student use in class, teacher use in class, student use outside class, teacher use outside class.

Sound pedagogical theory
○ Cooperative learning
○ Constructivism
○ Learning styles
○ Problem based learning

Student use in class:
○ Debating in class – groups of 3, topics of discussion, teams post ideas in online discussion board. Winners get bonus marks.
○ Case Studies – present in class; teams of 3 to come up with a solution; post to discussion board… ability to respond.
○ WebQuest – well organized web based research activities; groups of 3; provide key starting resources http://webquest.org
○ Research – search for info on specific topics. Can use library resources, electronic databases; evaluate quality of resources use.
○ Online Surveys – find survey on topic being discusses, create your own survey; good into activity that gets personal involvement.
○ Software – 64 titles… give them as much as possible.
○ Robotics – hands on programming, able to take to school.
○ Digital Video in Class – students capture video of themselves presenting, teaching; aids self analysis; mini-movie making, teaching storytelling; skits and presentations.
○ Probes and Probeware – use laptop to connect to probe, gather motion and temperature data.
○ Kits & Activities – electronic engineering kit for high schools.
○ Java Applets – find related interactive applets ahead of time; have students interact to solve problems; can be used for interaction (Interactive Mathematics – utah state university) http://matti.usu.edu/nlvm/nav/vlibrary.html
○ Videos can be used for demonstration purposes (Annenberg http://www.learner.org/)
○ Fast Feedback – http://www.getfast.ca – free online assessment summary tool.
○ Web Articles – current stuff, real world things for students to see.

Student Use outside of Class
○ Discussion Boards – have to use in the right way – not too large of groups.
○ Posting Solutions – typed answers, scanned diagrams; effective way to promote discussion; get students to evaluate each others answers.
○ Tutorial Videos – Camtasia – http://www.techsmith.com/products/studio/default.asp
○ Digital Portfolios – collection of their best work throughout the year.
○ Video Projects – submit it as an assignment. Technical presentations.
○ Resource Collection – collect links that will assist them in a particular area, with analysis of why the link is good.
○ Group projects – can use discussion boards, email, shared documents, synchronous communication. E.g. hyper studio music.
Teacher Use in Class
○ Organizer – gives overview of where class is going. Lesson plan: What is covered, links, homework.
○ PowerPoint – don’t over use (no longer than 10-15 minutes). Add videos & graphics.
○ Polling students – http://www.getfast.ca
○ Brainstorming – ask for ideas & thoughts; record ideas electronically. Post ideas on the web page.

Teacher use Outside Class
○ Web Page – Great organizer; notify students of key changes; Go through class web site page by page so they know what is there.
The Results
○ Individual difference in ability between males and females disappeared after 8 months.
○ Individual difference between beginners and experts disappeared after 8 months.

Summary
○ Pedagogy must be there.
○ Need to consider In and Outside class use.
○ Need to consider teacher and student use.
○ Outside class activities can be done with out laptops.
○ Bottom line – Engages students; Improves attitude & ability; acts as an equalizer.
○ Robin.kay@uoit.ca – ask for a link to the presentation and a paper about this.

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