Enhancing the Teaching of Mathematically Intensive STEM Disciplines at a Tertiary Level Through the Use of Pen-enabled Tablet PCs
This thesis examines issues involved in the introduction of pen-enabled Tablet PC (penTPCs) technology in a university context, for use in learning and teaching within mathematically intensive subjects. A design based research (DBR) approach is explored, in which a conceptual framework is used to provide a theoretical and practical basis for the introduction of the technology. Lecturer and student reactions to this intervention were studied and are related to the conceptual framework, to validate the rationale for the intervention, and to suggest the design of potential ongoing cycles of future intervention. A conjecture mapping technique is used to describe the intervention design. Institutional factors that acted to either support or impede the introduction of the technology are also identified.
The core content of this thesis is contained in five international journal papers (four published, one under review) that investigate different aspects of the initial cycle of technology implementation. Data from student and staff surveys, video of class sessions, and other evidence was analysed. This revealed a generally favourable response from lecturers and students to the initial introduction of the technology, but that the usage was essentially in maintenance of traditional pedagogic approaches; the penTPC provided a functional improvement in visibility over classroom whiteboard displays, while allowing continuing use of dynamic handwritten development of material. However, additional analysis of the response data, and a review of the associated conceptual framework, suggests that another cycle of a DBR approach could investigate use of the technology in support of alternative, more transformative, pedagogic approaches.
While the thesis examines a specific case of penTPC technology introduction, the findings and DBR approach developed may also be applicable in other contexts and in the introduction of other learning and teaching technologies.