Dr Benjamin Metcalfe, Lecturer in the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering, was awarded approx. £2200 by LITEbox - Santander Technology Fund for a duration of two years from Feb 2018 to Feb 2020 to bring Interactive Learning to lectures.
Dr Metcalfe came up with this project as a means to enhance existing good practice by increasing the engagement of all types of learners with active learning via a portable interactive whiteboard during lectures and tutorials. The primary aim is to introduce a technology that permits real time capture of diagrams and equations, encourages student engagement through assistive learning techniques, and improves accessibility at all levels.
Journey so far:
With the funds, Dr Metcalfe bought two tablet computers with digital pencils, these are used to deliver lectures, where they can be passed around students, and to capture notes during tutorials and meetings. So far, this technology has directly affected over 320 students across all academic years; the equipment has also been shared with other academics and wider adoption has been driven by case studies and best practice guidance.
The technology has been used to enable three key advances: Lecture capture, eVoting, and Digital Annotation. During lectures the slides are presented directly from the tablet computer, the digital pencils being used to annotate key content directly. Worked mathematical examples were traditionally given using the whiteboard, and often not captured electronically. Using the tablets all examples are automatically captured with the slides, and the tablet is passed around the room for students to anonymously engage with the lecture.
The tablets have also been used alongside eVoting software, which has proven to be pivotal. Anonymous real-time voting is used to provide immediate feedback on core concepts to both the students and the academic. Student feedback on this aspect in particular has been excellent and there is a strong desire for other academics to introduce this technology.
A secondary application of the tablets has been the capture of notes during student tutorials and meetings. Student work can be directly annotated, and digital notes and sketches can be made directly onto the work during a tutorial. This is then e-mailed to the student as a PDF directly after the meeting; student focus groups have shown that this is particularly effective and also enables more timely feedback.
Over the next semester the technology will be pushed into other classes, with regular feedback being provided by a student focus group. The best practices will be formalised and provided to other academics for guidance.
“The use of technology such as eVoting and Digital Annotation makes a massive difference to our lectures. The voting technology highlights key points and the digital annotations make sure that everyone has a chance to engage.” – K. Shopland
“The annotation technology is brilliant, during meetings the lecturer annotates our work directly, then just e-mails a PDF with all the notes on. No more forgetting what was discussed!” – G. Rossides
“Most of us annotate our own notes digitally, so to have the lecturer doing the same is really helpful.” – A. Cascarino