What could Students do with their Laptops while Lectures?

The second task was to find out what Students could do with Laptops in their Lectures? To find answers to this question, we used methods from the IDEO Method Cards.

The method I used for this task was “Predict Next Years Headlines”. So I asked some students and myself the question: “Try to think 1 year in the future. How could (in the future) Laptops be used usefully while Lectures?”

The results can be categorized into 3 different groups: technical infrastructure at the University, teachers and students.

Technical Infrastructure:

-) Electronic Whiteboards (where you can print out/save the information on it) instead of blackboards
-) Better Networkinfrastructure, more Poweroutlets

Teachers:

-) Create “Hypertext-Slides” (so that Students who look at the slides on their laptop can get more information by clicking on links)
-) Possibility for changing the presentation “on the fly” (e.g.: make additions to the slides in the lecture, make annotations directly on the slides, …)
-) Create Audio- & Videorecordings of the lecture (so that Students don’t have to record it and could catch up on a lecture they missed)
-) Create the posibility of direct electronic communication with teachers/assistants (e.g.: via messenger, irc, mail, …) in the lecture for questions (makes it easier than asking them alound when sitting in the last rows of big rooms). Answers to this questions should be made public because they are probably interesting for more than one student

Students:

-) Use a better software to take notes while in the lecture (e.g.: a software with that you can directly take notes on PDF files)
-) Use IRC chatrooms (e.g.: one for each room or one for each lecture) for communication with other students

These and other results brought up some interesting questions: If there is the possibility for class related stuff you can do with your laptop, how can the teacher still grab and hold the attention of the students? What are the reasons for students to visit lectures?

Interesting questions, maybe we will find some answers to them.

One of the answers to “What are the reasons for students to visit lectures?” was “So that they don’t miss something”. Miss what? Maybe something like this:

Hopefully not only because of such things ­čÖé

What are Students doing with their Laptop in a Lecture?

As I mentioned in the introduction, this seminary is partly about “How to make use of Laptops in big (around 500 – 1000 people) Lectures?”. As more and more Students have Laptops, more of them are bringing them with them to Lectures.
So the first task for us (the participants of the seminary) was to find out: “What are Students actually doing with their Laptop in Lectures?”

The method I used to find answers to this question, was to ask friends and post the question in some Internetcommunities I’m regulary visiting.
The answers were very diverse, here is a Summary of the answers:

– take Notes (easier to organize and sometimes easier to read than handwriting, able to do a quick research on the topics while taking Notes)
– look at the presentation the Professor is holding (because it’s easier to read on the screen)
– surf the Internet & check e-mails
– do a Internetresearch on the topics of the Lecture (e.g. if the professor doesn’t know something or is unsure)
– prepare for upcoming classes or Presentations
– conduct a Presentation
– use the laptop for programming
– look up translations
– work on projects or use the laptop when needed in tutorials
– write silly notes in large font to flash the screen to the people in the back row
– play games

I also asked a pupil from a Laptop Class to answer the questions. The result was similar to the one at universities. And also in schools with Laptop Classes not many teachers are not really able to use the potential of everyone having their laptop with them and being online.

One conclusion the Students attending the Seminary draw after we put all our answers from different methods together was that the Students want to be at the Lectures (maybe because of social contacts;maybe because it’s still better to be in the Lecture and not fully concentrate on it than to not be there) but the usage of the Laptops is mostly the same as it would be at home.

Below you find a good Video called “A Vision of Students today”, which shows some the characteristics and problems of todays students:

WordPress Themes

So as you may have noticed, this blog now has a different theme. Many thanks to Sonja for looking out for nice Themes and choosing it. It’s really great, I even like the picture so much that I will keep it at least for some time.

But searching for a good theme is not easy. The usability of http://themes.wordpress.net/ is not the best of all and so many themes out there have bugs. Also this one, especially with the Smileys and SubCategories. But anyway it’s better than the standard theme.

Projectlog Introduction

So this is the first entry in the Projectlog for the Seminar “Grundlagen Methodischen Arbeitens” which I’m attending at the Technical University Vienna.

The topic of the seminar is E-Learning and how to improve it. How to make use of “real” E-Learning and not only “Distance Learning”. It is held by Peter Purgathofer, who created together with two other people the Project “Slidecasting 2.0”, a Software to make use of laptops in big lectures and to make them more interactive.

time for an update …

I just saw that I’ve not written into this blog for 8 1/2 months, well bloggin regulary is not so easy as it seems. So here is a short update about my life ­čÖé

University is going on smoothly and my progress on the Studienberechtigungspr├╝fung is good from my point of view. (Physics, English and Elective finished, 2 of 5 Mathcourses finished)

In a Seminary I’m attending we have to make a projectlog and so I will use this blog for it … but more in a seperate entry.