University of Zaragoza (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2023 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 7538-7543
ISBN: 978-84-09-55942-8
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2023.1869
Conference name: 16th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 13-15 November, 2023
Location: Seville, Spain
The lack of interaction between lecturers and students has potentiated the use of interactive tools and more innovative methodologies during lectures. Given this scenario, lecturers worldwide have sought new methodologies and strategies to potentiate student engagement. An example of this practice is using interactive whiteboards. This technology allows the user to prepare material in advance, quickly display it to the class, and manipulate items directly on the display. Several benefits have been claimed for this technology, such as flexibility, versatility and multisensory presentation, but the fact that students can easily interact and participate in a class has made this technology fashionable as a teaching tool.

Despite these positive features, interactive whiteboards suffer from the same problem as their traditional counterparts when it comes to using them in problem-solving activities. In such lectures, the lecturer loses direct eye contact with the students when they stand back to them to write on the board. Such a drawback can be corrected using a tablet connected to a projector to write and display handwriting notes. Writing on traditional or interactive whiteboards means that the instructor must be close to the board, whereas lecturers handling a tablet can be sat looking at the students or even walk around their classrooms while writing. Additionally, notes written on a tablet can be saved to be visible and downloadable. This is an enormous advantage for lecturers and students, as they can be aware of and detect possible mistakes after the session and act consequently. In addition, tablets allow automatic magnification of what is written, whereas the lecturer can write only in the space provided with traditional or interactive whiteboards.

Given this scenario, this work has addressed using a tablet connected to a projector as a substitute for the traditional whiteboard during problem-solving activities. This study was conducted at the University of Zaragoza in the academic year 2023-2024 during the problem-solving activities of the subject Industrial Chemical Processes, belonging to the Industrial Technology Engineering Degree. These activities consist of 6 sessions of 3 h each, with the participation of a total number of 20 students and two lecturers. The students were split into two groups and attended the same session (each group with each lecturer) in a different classroom, with one lecturer using the traditional whiteboard and the other the tablet. The lecturers and the methodologies rotated so that the lecturers used both methodologies and taught the two groups.
An anonymous survey, consisting of an open-ended questionnaire, was carried out at the end of the course to know the student’s opinions about the advantages and disadvantages of using a tablet connected through a projector as a substitute for the traditional whiteboard during problem-solving activities. The results indicate that tablets are excellent substitutes for traditional whiteboards, but the classroom’s facilities (projecting area and resolution) must be appropriate for such a change. If these conditions are favourable, students welcome using tablets, emphasising that the lecturer and student interaction is potentiated with permanent eye contact and highlighting the possibility of making downloadable and storable the material and information written on the screen.
Student engagement, interactive tools, tablets, problem-solving activities.