Design implementation and evaluation of a tablet-based student response system for an engineering classroom
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Student response systems (SRSs) have generated significant debate and discussion in the educational research literature in the past decade. It is well known that they offer several important advantages including encouraging student interaction, offering anonymous and instant student feedback and improving the student learning experience. While several different types of such systems exist, they nevertheless remain limited in their input capabilities. In particular, they typically only allow for multiple-choice style responses, although some devices do cater for numerical and textual input. However, most of the available SRSs do not allow for freeform input such as mathematical equations, graphical drawings or circuit diagrams. This is of particular relevance to Engineering and Science disciplines where such information is core to the student learning. The approach to solving a problem is often as important, if not more so, than the actual final answer itself. This paper presents a classroom response system that allows for freeform input and operates on any smart media device with a touch interface and that employs the Android operating system, such as everyday smart phones and tablets. The proposed system involves three different components, namely a student application that allows for sketch capabilities, a lecturer application that allows for the viewing and marking of multiple student sketches and a cloud service for the exchange of messages. In addition, this proposed system was evaluated by a class of engineering students at NUI Maynooth, the results of which are presented within.
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