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Article
Using Handheld Computers for Instantaneous Feedback to Enhance Student Learning and Promote Interaction
The International Journal of Engineering Education (2008)
  • John C. Chen, Rowan University
  • Jennifer A. Kadlowec, Rowan University
  • Dexter C. Whittinghill, III, Rowan University
Abstract
In this project our goal is to improve student learning in engineering mechanics courses. Our hypothesis is that learning is improved by providing rapid feedback to students of their understanding of key concepts and skills being taught. This hypothesis was tested through experiments in which student performance on quizzes was measured after classes in which they were provided rapid feedback. The feedback system acts as a catalyst to encourage students, working in pairs, to assist each other in correcting misconceptions or deepening each other's understanding of the concept or skill at hand. Furthermore, the system allows the professor to assess the students' level of comprehension or misconception in a just-in-time fashion, and thus guide the pace of covering the material. The feedback is enabled through wireless-networked handheld computers or colorcoded flashcards, and this study focused on the differences in results between these two rapid feedback methods. In the first two years of the study, this study was implemented in two sections of a lower-level, core-engineering course, Statics, as well as in follow-on courses of Dynamics and Solid Mechanics. Our results show that there was no statistically significant difference in knowledge gained between the two feedback methods, as measured by student performance on quizzes. The students' perception, however, was that the handheld computers were more useful to them. The students showed a good retention of Statics concepts and skills in follow-on courses.
Keywords
  • Concepts learning,
  • mechanics,
  • personal digital assistants,
  • rapid feedback,
  • statics,
  • handheld computers
Disciplines
Publication Date
2008
Citation Information
John C. Chen, Jennifer A. Kadlowec and Dexter C. Whittinghill. "Using Handheld Computers for Instantaneous Feedback to Enhance Student Learning and Promote Interaction" The International Journal of Engineering Education Vol. 24 Iss. 3 (2008) p. 616 - 624 ISSN: 0949-149X
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/dexter-whittinghill/3/