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Tablets with DyKnow in Physics. Sudipa Mitra-Kirtley Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Terre Haute, IN. Situation is favorable. All classrooms at RHIT wired for high-speed network connections, and all buildings on campus have wireless connections.

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Tablets with dyknow in physics l.jpg

Tablets with DyKnow in Physics

Sudipa Mitra-Kirtley


Institute of Technology

Terre Haute, IN

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Situation is favorable

  • All classrooms at RHIT wired for high-speed network connections, and all buildings on campus have wireless connections.

  • Students use their laptops in classrooms on a daily basis in most first-year classes, and in many upper-division classes.

  • In physics, most introductory labs are computerized.

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Bringing physics outside of classrooms with wireless computers… advantages?

  • Illustrate that physics principles apply to real-world situations

  • Alleviate passive style of learning

  • Hands-on learning allows students to relate to their engineering disciplines

  • Allow students to retain material effectively

  • Pen-based technology allows students to record data on the fly

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What is studio physics? computers… advantages?

  • No separate three-hour long labs

  • Instructor spends very little time at the blackboard

  • Laboratories brought into the classroom

  • Students perform mini experiments almost in every session, right after a concept has been taught

  • Students work in groups for all the activities

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Tablets with DyKnow in physics classrooms… computers… advantages? ….the advantage?

  • more active participation of students in classroom

  • students get immediate feedback on their answers to questions posed by the instructor

  • instructor also gets immediate feedback on the level of understanding

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Immediate feedback…one simple example computers… advantages?

After a lecture on inertial frames, ask if the Earth is an inertial frame of reference


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Fundamental questions to be discussed/solutions to problems to be worked out

  • Why is the electric charge in nature quantized?

  • Why can't we find an isolated magnetic north or south pole?

    Break into groups and ask one group to submit results

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Replay feature to be worked out

When a group is assigned a problem and it is submitted to the teacher, then the errors can be pointed out as the solution unfolds.

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Kinetic friction to be worked out

  • Given the slope and the velocities at the different times, what is the coefficient of kinetic friction in this case?

  • Leave the question open-ended for students to figure out

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Rotational motion: centripetal acceleration to be worked out

  • Strap an accelerometer on the student

  • Let the student run around the track at the gymnasium at a more or less constant pace

  • Put data on computer

  • Find out centripetal acceleration of the student

  • Find out the speed of run

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Comments on student evaluation to be worked out(Studio with tablets and DyKnow)

  • ..with the help of dyknow, listening to the teacher instead of worrying about note made learning much easier

  • ..liked the use of Dyknow and the tablets. They are both an excellent learning tool. I could re-read my notes the way they were written. This helped especially on the examples.

  • One strength of this class was the use of Dyknow and the tablets. They were both an excellent learning tool.

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Comments cont… to be worked out

  • With more time we get go at a little slower pace, so i can learn the material and know the concepts.

  • I really liked the tablet computers. They offered a way to go back and look at the notes exactly how the teacher had presented them and not how much you were able to scribble down before the slide went away. Also, with a large room you never had to worry about not seeing what was on the other side of the board.

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Comments on studio and DyKnow… to be worked out

  • I enjoyed the studio style which seemed to allow more teaching and interaction in the lab my the class professor.

  • While I enjoyed the material and believe it to have been taught well, the biggest strength of this course in my opinion was the tablet/Dyknow system used to take notes.

  • One major attribute, is that we used dyknow, therefore I had all notes taken down correctly

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Comments cont….. to be worked out

  • I believe that we benefited from using DYKNOW, because we weren't worrying about getting all the notes down so we could understand them later, we were watching the notes and understanding them on the spot. We weren't struggling to keep up.

  • I like the Studio format compared to regular Physics course format. I enjoy the longer classes with the labs integrated into the course instead of having the labs at a separate time.

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Feedback on traditional class and DyKnow to be worked out

  • The tablet PCs made it easier … I didn't have to write down everything written on the board like I had in previous while trying to understand the concepts at the same time.

  • I think that the computer notes really helped me learn….

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Traditional vs Studio to be worked out

Overall, students in Studio liked the tablets with DyKnow much better than in the traditional classes

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Feedback on learning to be worked out

  • One of the questions addressed the concern if DyKnow was useful in the learningprocess. 73% of the students responded positively.

  • The best feature of the software liked by the majority of the students was that the students received the exact version of the instructor’s notes, with students’ freedom to annotate them.

  • Another popular feature among these students was the pen-enabled characteristic of this practice. One student remarked, “Novelty value…the stylus is useful for some things other than writing”.

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Negative comments…very few to be worked out(with suggested solutions)

  • is easier for me to pay attention and learn better because I learn better when I write out the problem (give them a choice)

  • Using the laptop computers was good although it was hard to figure out which file the notes would be on for particular problems (name files appropriately)

  • Often the students got distracted by games etc on the computers (use Monitor version, give them a choice)

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Conclusions to be worked out

  • Endless potentials

  • Wireless pen-based tablets with DyKnow undoubtedly enhances student-teacher and student-student interactions

  • This brings in the real-world flavor to physics experiments

  • This preferred over tethered computers…easier to use and lighter to carry