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Learner-centred mathematics and statistics education using netbook tablet PCs. (English)
Int. J. Math. Educ. Sci. Technol. 42, No. 7, 939-949 (2011).
Summary: Tablet technology has been shown to support learner-centred mathematics education when this technology is available to both the lecturer and the students. However, cost is often the barrier to students’ use of tablet PCs for their university studies. This article argues that more affordable netbook PCs with tablet capabilities can be viable alternatives to full-sized tablet PCs to enhance active and collaborative learning in mathematics and statistics. For a whole teaching semester, netbook tablet PCs were given to volunteer students from two different cohorts. Students were enrolled in nursing mathematics or introductory statistics in non-mathematics majors at an Australian university. The aims were to gauge the suitability of this technology and to identify what active and collaborative learning emerged in these first-year classes. While the netbook tablet PCs were actively promoted in their tutorials, of additional interest was students’ use of the technology for any aspect of their studies both inside and outside the classroom. The outcome of this study was to inform a university decision to provide inexpensive tablet technology to larger cohorts of students. The results highlight different approaches required in the mathematics and statistics classes to achieve collaborative and active learning facilitated through the technology. Environmental variables such as the tutor, student, learning space, availability of other technologies and subject content had an impact on the nature of learning. While learner-centred education can be facilitated by inexpensive netbook tablet PCs, we caution that the savings may come at the expense of computing power.
Classification: U55 R25
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