USING MATHEMATICA IN DIGITAL TABLETS AND SMARTPHONES TO ENRICH THE LEARNING EXPERIENCE IN A HEAT TRANSFER COURSE
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) (MEXICO)
About this paper:
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
Abstract:In previous works, we have described the development of a TIC-based methodology for teaching a Heat Transfer course in the Metallurgical Chemical Engineering curricula at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). In this methodology, the professor presents a topic, once a week, in a conventional classroom. Another day of the week the students carry out computational activities at a computer lab. The professor presents the theoretical background through interactive materials (notebooks) developed with Mathematica in which he can enter data to change the operating conditions and show the students the results in real time. Currently, the students only watch from their seats what the professor does, since they do not have computer equipment in that classroom. At the computer lab, the students have access to interactive notebooks, similar to those used by the professor in the theoretical class, and therefore are requested to carry out a number of activities.
The purpose of this study is to modify the methodology used so far for the theoretical sessions so that students can have access (on a tablet or smartphone) to the same materials used by the teacher and run the interactive notebooks at the same time. Here we present the first results of using mobile devices to run the interactive notebooks originally developed for the computer lab. The purpose is to know the students opinion regarding the experience of using interactive lessons on mobile devices. Mobile devices were purchased and lent to three students for their use throughout the course. They were: an iPad A1822 tablet, a Galaxy Tab A6, and a Samsung Galaxy S8 Phone; the first one runs with an IOS operating system and the other two run with Android. On desktop computers, it is enough to install a plug-in to run the interactive notebooks that are available to the students in Mathematica’s computable document format (CDF). For devices with Android operating system, the software does not run locally, but in the cloud through the Wolfram Cloud application. In contrast, there is a downloadable plug-in version for devices running IOS. One of the questions that we wanted to answer is what advantages one or another operating system offers. Other points that are investigated in this work were if the delay on executing the notebooks on the University network and the size of the screens allowed to properly follow the lecture. Results, although partial, indicate that access to interactive notebooks through mobile devices is a good option, particularly given that the number of students with access to mobile devices is increasing and the conditions of connectivity in the classrooms at the University allow them to follow the lecture appropriately.
Keywords: Mobile learning, Tablets, smartphones, Web Applications, Mathematica Notebooks, Heat Transfer teaching methodology, Computer Infrastructure.