Wireless Notebooks as Means for Fostering Active Learning in Higher Education
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Wireless Notebooks as Means for Fostering Active Learning in Higher Education. Miri Barak The Department of Education in Technology and Science, Technion Chais-Conference 2006. Many thanks to: d'Arbeloff Fund Prof. Lerman, Director of CECI Dr. Judson Harward.

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Wireless Notebooks as Means for Fostering Active Learning in Higher Education

Miri Barak

The Department of Education in Technology and Science, Technion


  • Many thanks to: Higher Education

  • d'Arbeloff Fund

  • Prof. Lerman, Director of CECI

  • Dr. Judson Harward

PIVoT Higher Education, the Physics Interactive Video Tutor

The Masters' Voices™ project -Ford Motor Company's

TEAL-Technology Enabled Active Learning

Project 1.00 –Studio-classes

Active learning at MIT

Active learning Higher Education

By the beginning of the 20th century, active learning was widely promoted among progressive educators like John Dewey (1924).

Active learning environments encourage students to be engage in solving problems, sharing ideas, giving feedback, and teaching each other(Johnson, Johnson, and Smith, 1998; Towns and Grant, 1997).

Active learning puts the responsibilityof organizing the learning in the hands of the learners (Keyser, 2000; Niemi, 2002).

Wireless laptops in education Higher Education

  • Benefits:

  • Increasing students’ motivationand collaboration,

  • Strengthening connections between disciplines,

  • Improving students’ problem solving skills, and

  • Promoting academic achievement.

  • (Barak, Lipson, & Lerman, 2006, Mackinnon & Vibert, 2002; Siegle & Foster, 2002).

However Higher Education,

The characteristics of the laptop users might limit or even reverse academic performance(Grace-Martin & Gay, 2001).

Although the use of portable computers had a positive effect on students’ science achievement, it did not have a positive effect on achievement for English and Mathematics (Gardner, Morrison, Jarman, Reilly & McNally, 1994).

Active learning Higher Education

Wireless laptops



Short lectures [10-15 min]

Short exercise [10-15 min]

Wireless laptops in the studio classes
Wireless laptops in the studio-classes Higher Education

  • an easy and convenient hands-on computing experience in a large lecture hall setting,

  • enabling immediate implementation of new programming concepts or procedures taught in class,

  • providing an immediate feedback from both the IDE program and the instructors.

Enabled the implementation of the studio format in a large lecture hall setting by enabling the integration of lectures, tutorials, and laboratories.

Research goal Higher Education

Investigate the effect of studio-based instruction on undergraduates’ learning outcomes and conceptual understanding

Research Population

171 students(Nfall=73, Nspring=98)

Introduction to Computers and Engineering Problem Solving

Research instruments Higher Education

1. Pre-testinvestigate students’ prior knowledge in programming.

2. Problem sets - investigate students’ ability to solve programming problems.

3. Quiz and finalexamination(post-test) - investigated students’ learning outcomes.

Academic Index - MIT entrance scores.

Students’ attendance - classes participation.

Hake’s normalized gain equation (Hake, 1998) Higher Education

Students’ learning outcomes: Establishing their relative improvement

N=171 improvement’

Relative improvement


Academic index

High (N=95)



Studio-class attendance

Students’ class attendance and their relative improvement by academic index













Students’ conceptual understanding improvement’

Conceptual questions required students to explain a phenomenon and provide examples or strategies to support their answer.

Quiz: What is round-off error? Please give one example that demonstrates its significance.

Exam: There are situations or specific sets of data that can make an efficient algorithm or data structure give atypically inefficient or incorrect performance. Please describe at least two examples and strategies to remedy the problem in both cases.

High attendance studio-class attendance

High attendance students presented complex, in-depth, and thorough answers

Low attendance

High attendance studio-class attendance

Multiplicity – diverse ways for representing knowledge

Summary studio-class attendance

Studio-based instruction supports the four domains of pedagogy:

Cognitive – students are offered an array of content and information sources;

Operative – students are encouraged to use laptops and the IDE program for composing lines of code;

Affective – the large number of instructors provide support and enhance positive attitudes;

Social – the informal environment promotes interactions among students and instructors.

Laptops should be employed in class only for directed purposes

It is not the technology but how we choose to use it! studio-class attendance

International Journal of Mobile Learning and Organisation (IJMLO) www.inderscience.com/ijmlo

מירי ברק [email protected]