A formal study evaluating the use of flexible technology in this course is underway.
Preliminary evaluation has suggested that the introduction of active learning with the SMART Board and tablet PCs increased student learning, satisfaction, and participation. During the second phase (2006), when the students used PowderCell on the tablet PCs, they were more likely to download PowderCell on their own computers to complete out-of-class homework exercises. During the third phase (2007 and 2009), Professor Buhro observed that adding in-class problem-solving using the tablet PCs with the SMART Board led to significant improvements in homework scores (Figure 3).
End-of-semester surveys administered in 2006 and 2007 show that students perceived their use of the tablet PCs to improve their learning (Figure 4). In 2007, when in-class refinement exercises were added, the average response to statement 3 (I am more comfortable working computer exercises outside of class because I used tablet PCs in class) increased to 4.5 (on a 5-pt. scale) over an average of 4.1 in 2006.