8b) Using tablet-PC technology in teaching quantitative and physical molecular bioscience

Dr Jeremy Craven (Molecular Biology and Biotechnology)
Second Session (12:20 – 13:20) 
Discovery Room 1

What is this about?

Fully “stylus enabled” tablet-PC laptops allow great opportunities to enrich teaching. I will discuss my experiences of sourcing suitable hardware and using OneNote and Camtasia as a fantastically dynamic recordable OHP/whiteboard substitute. The lectures so recorded can be played back “pen stroke by pen stroke” (i.e. as pencasts), so the thread of the arguments can be followed. My main application is in teaching maths and physics material, where traditional Powerpoint is poor: lecturers can move along at too great a pace and the students can be detached from the act of physically writing down verbatim material in their own hand. OHPs and whiteboards provide a much better medium, but neither readily allow one to record lectures or to provide a reference copy of notes. I will discuss how this method is also ideal for producing vignette/revision lecture videos, and for providing rapid responses to emailed maths queries.

How will colleagues benefit?
They will see a form of lecture recording "pencasting" which still seems to be unfamiliar to many people and is an extremely effective way of delivering mathematical material. Colleagues will learn how surprisingly hard it was to find suitable hardware in this "touch screen" era, and I hope they will benefit from the knowledge I gained. I will also discuss other impediments to this approach being more widely used locally, including a comparison of the capabilities of the sympodia computers in the University lecture theatres compared to the hardware that I use.


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