2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 10:15 AM

Application of Digital Ink Technology and Interactive Classroom Software to Lecturing on Mineral Optics

HOISCH, Thomas D., Department of Geology, Northern Arizona University, Box 4099, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, MANONE, Mark F., Geology, Northern Arizona University, Box 4099, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, NEWELL, Shawn, Social Research Laboratory, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011 and AUSTIN, Barbara A., Center for Science Teaching and Learning, Northern Arizona University, Box 5697, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, Thomas.Hoisch@nau.edu

Learning of mineral optics requires students to integrate theory with microscope manipulations and image interpretation. Lecture demonstrations delivered with the aid of a live video feed from a digital camera attached to a microscope and projected onto a screen carry both advantages and disadvantages. Advantages include (1) the content is well illustrated, possibly leading to enhanced comprehension, and (2) the instructor may expand on particular points interactively, in response to questions and discussion, with additional demonstration. The main disadvantages are (1) students observe passively and consequently may suffer a loss of engagement during the demonstration, and (2) note taking during demonstrations is difficult due to having to rapidly sketch and label complex images. We used digital ink technology and interactive classroom software, NetSupport School, in an effort to overcome these difficulties. Each student was given a pen-tablet PC on which to take notes. Pen-tablets come equipped with a pen stylus that may be used to draw with digital ink on images loaded into pen-capable programs such as MS OneNote and PowerPoint. The computers were linked wirelessly using NetSupport School to a hub consisting of a pen-tablet controlled by the instructor. The hub is connected to the digital camera via USB; the desktop of the hub is projected on a screen. As the instructor lectures, selected images are captured and delivered to students wirelessly using the file transfer capability of NetSupport School. Students then load the images into either OneNote or PowerPoint for note taking; features can be marked on the photos in digital ink as the instructor lectures. Summative assessment of the method revealed that students liked having the images close up, liked their high color accuracy, and remained engaged during the lectures, but the process of transferring the images led to unintended delays. Testing revealed improved student learning.