Overview Software Publications Funding

Pebbles Classroom Technology

Uses of Hand-Helds in the Classrooms

The Pebbles project is investigating many uses of hand-held computers in classrooms.

In one set of investigations, we are looking at how hand-helds may help instructors evaluate the students in a lecture. One semester (Spring, 2000) we collaborated with Prof. David Yaron of Chemistry using 120 Jornada hand-helds donated by Hewlett-Packard. Each student in Chem 107 received a hand-held and a Wireless Andrew Wavelan card, and Prof. Yaron gave them "concept tests" at multiple points during a lecture. Students answered on their hand-held, and a bar chart of all the answers was projected for the class to see. If students did not know the answer, the material could be discussed more thoroughly, whereas if students were correct, the lecture could move to new material. Student evaluations showed the hand-helds were popular. Results of this experiment were reported in a technical report.

We hope to expand on this research in the future.

Related Applications

Some of the Pebbles applications may be useful in an educational setting. In particular, the Slide Show Commander runs on a PDA while the PC is running PowerPoint. On the PDA, you can see the notes of the current slide and all the slide titles. There is also a timer and clock on the PDA. You can easily move forward and backward or jump to a specific slide. You can also use the PDA to scribble on the slides, and we are working on various ways to save the scribbles so the students can see the results later.

In the future, we want to investigate further uses of hand-helds in classrooms, possibly to support laboratory experiments, to support real testing and homework grading, and to enable lecturers to hand-write on the screen.

Classroom Technology

Recommended by  Innovative Teaching

Featured in the January 6, 2003, Vol. 5, no. 15, issue of the Innovative Teaching Newsletter on "PDAs in the Classroom".

Featured in Christine Tomasino's
For What It's $$Worth$$
. January 21, 2005.
"A Presenter's Friend" and "Handheld Software for Student Collaboration".

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