Beyond Traditional Lecturing: The Interactive Computer-Based Classroom Bassam Hammo (Ph.D) Department of Computer Information SystemsKing Abdullah II School for Information Technology Jordan University Amman Jordan e- mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
What is an Interactive Classroom • An interactive classroom is a place where learners are encouraged to communicate with peers and teachers in a meaningful way. • Creates useful learning opportunities in which the teacher presents the material in a way that is interactive and therefore meaningful to the learner.
Interactive Classroom • Electronic classroom or simply “E-classroom” is equipped with technologies that • capture classroom activities, • allow for audio and video recordings of lectures, • slides presentation, • capture the notes written by the lecturer, and • make class material available all the time. • can be accessed and reviewed by students for missing parts, studying difficult concepts or to prepare for exams.
Why Interactive Classroom • Cognitive psychologists: • learning is more productive when the acquired knowledge occurs in an interactive environment. • Experimentally, it was found that students attending interactive lectures learn more than students attending a traditional one. • This is because students in an interactive environment do not spend the time in writing and copying the material from the board as the case in traditional classrooms; instead, they spend the time in thinking, understanding and asking questions .
Why Interactive Classroom • Efficient learning techniques became mandatory to keep up with the demand of productive learning: • Significant improvements in computational power, • networking bandwidth, • storage capacity and graphical user interfaces • New teaching methods, such as long-distance and virtual learning, where students are separated in space and/or time, become increasingly common in many universities and educational institutes
Motivation • Lecturing at King Abdullah II School for Information Technology (KASIT) at the University of Jordan (UJ) is based on electronic presentations using PowerPoint slides: • Classrooms are equipped with ceiling-mounted projectors and whiteboards for writing notes. • A typical lecture is around 50 minutes and has around 60-80 students. • The classroom is the only place where students can learn and take notes. • Lecture notes, in most cases, are not made available outside the classroom. • Recently, KASIT starts offering few courses through Blackboard: • but yet not as efficient and utilized as required. • high running cost of the system • serves only a thin slice of the huge community of the UJ.
Motivation • Support a long-standing problem of teaching an obligatory, multi-section course of Computer Skills required by all students at the University. • huge number of students per section was not very conducive to establish meaningful interaction between students and the instructor. • The performance of some students was always low and students have to repeat the course more than once.
Features of our Interactive Classroom • Our system aims at exploiting the potential of computer technology for improving the way we teach and learn: • Bi-lingual (Arabic/English) • Developed to enable students within the campus of UJ to interact with the lecturer’s computer, where lecture notes are available for projection. • It enables the lecturer to improve the organization of the course material: • presents lectures and give a means of simplifying extensive content • monitors students’ activities through receiving immediate feedback regarding how well they have learned the material in an interactive way.
Features of our Interactive Classroom • For students, the new system encourages them to participate and complete the coursework with more variety in learning experiences, such as: • answering questions directly, • taking quizzes, • downloading audio and video files, • reviewing past lectures, • uploading due assignments and many other interesting tasks. • Our system comes at low cost • It has the advantages of being flexible, easy to use, and has the ability to run at any place within the campus where a networking connection is available.
The Roll of the Administrator • Add a new lecturer • Establish instructor-student relationship.
Connecting with the Instructor Server • Two major tasks through this server: • manage the coursework content, • start a presentation.
Starting a Presentation • Delivered material could be simply: • PowerPoint™ presentation, • material from the World Wide Web, • supplementary audio/video files, or • execution of any number of different programs on the main computer. • Monitoring students’ activities
Connecting with the Student Machine • Displays a list of online active instructors running on servers. • Student chooses to join an instructor; • login window requesting the student’s ID and the password.
Connecting with the Student Machine • Student can perform a set of tasks: • downloading missed lecture notes, • reading messages sent by instructor, and • viewing an active presentation.
Joining an Active Presentation • Student Joins a Session • Student has no control over the displayed material: • just setting there watching the presentation and other activities presented by the instructor, • checking attendance record, • reading notes sent by the instructor, • raising hand to ask a question, • uploading an assignment when requested to do so, and • responding to quick Yes/No questions.
Conclusion & Future Directions • We aim at utilizing over thirty computer labs distributed around the campus and already equipped with latest computers, servers, and connected over a high-bandwidth network to be used in teaching synchronous multi-section courses interactively. • It overcomes separations in space by exchanging audio, video, and textual materials at different computer labs. • It worth to mention that the project was initiated and developed as a six-month project, and it was driven by practical needs and targeted at providing a friendly, easy to set, low-cost Windows/PC-based interactive classroom environment.