A study of effective and best practice usage and implementation of tablet PCs in engineering education
There are certain limitations with traditional presentational-style (‘PowerPoint’) lectures that must be addressed in order to improve the quality of lecturing and meet students’ expectations on lecture quality and experience. Tablet PC devices can offer a suitable compromise between the progressive style of delivery of traditional blackboard/overhead projectors, and the ability to deliver multimedia material in an integrated session. In this paper the effectiveness of a tablet PC in an engineering education setting is examined from the point of view of both lecturer/instructor and student. This is done via a survey of previous work, focusing on three key usage models: i) a device for lecture delivery, ii) a device for student study, iii) a channel for instructor-student communication, and iv) a device for productivity. From this the key benefits and limitations are identified with regards to suitability, functionality, and implementation. A series of best practice approaches are then devised to best implement tablet PCs into engineering education courses. Tablet PCs are shown to be very effective in creating active learning environments (ALEs) which are are beneficial in catering to more learning styles, improving engagement, and, subsequently, cognition and attendance.