Using Emerging Technologies to Promote Student Engagement and Learning in Agricultural Mathematics

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Emerging technologies (Tablet PC and Clickers) were introduced in the delivery of first-year Agricultural Mathematics course at the University of Queensland Gatton Campus, Australia. The digital ink pen and the screen of the Tablet PC were used to develop mathematical concepts in lectures to foster interactive teaching and learning. Ten ‘Bonus Mark Sessions’ were also conducted during the semester where students were asked to solve an analytical problem based on the week’s topic. The student with the first correct solution was awarded a bonus mark after he/she explained the solution to the rest of the class using the Tablet PC. This activity had the effect of gaining students’ undivided attention during the lecture, promoting student engagement and developing graduate attributes like communication and presentation skills. The ‘delivered’ lectures were saved in the form of PowerPoint slides and uploaded on the course Blackboard site for online viewing by internal as well as external students. Clickers (also known as student response systems) were used for collaborative assessment during the mid-semester examination which comprised of 20 multiple-choice questions.

The impact of these technologies on student engagement and learning was assessed by using standard university Teaching Evaluation survey and a specific survey developed for this course. The innovative use of Tablet PC was very well received by the students. However, there were mixed reactions to the use of Clickers for assessment. The instant feedback on exam results was appreciated by the students but the inability to change their answers during the examination was cited as the major limitation of the Clickers.

Keywords: Student Engagement, Tablet PC, Clickers, Collaborative Assessment, Mathematics
Stream: Technology in Learning; Maths, Science and Technology Learning
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , Using Emerging Technologies to Promote Student Engagement and Learning in Agricultural Mathematics,

Dr. Madan Lal Gupta

Senior Lecturer, School of Land, Crop & Food Sciences, The University of Queensland
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Madan Gupta is a Senior Lecturer in Agricultural Engineering at the University of Queensland where he has been teaching since 1992. His teaching practices are a reflection of his educational philosophy based on the principles of 3 Ps – Passion, Participation and Patience. Madan completed the Graduate Certificate in Higher Education in 2002 following which he successfully introduced innovative cooperative learning techniques and a peer and self-assessment system to enhance student performance. He was awarded a Carrick Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning in 2006. He also won the University Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2007.

Ref: L09P1421