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aNTUna - Mobile Learning Initiative @ NTU - Part 2

aNTUna Video Projector

The second aNTUna initiative that was launched in July 2002 involves the use of wireless video projectors in all 120 tutorial rooms as a tool to facilitate collaborative learning. In a typical tutorial session, the professor, prior to the start of the lesson, can locate the networked video projector in the various tutorial room from the convenience of his office PC or notebook computer. He can quickly transfer the relevant teaching material to the video projector remotely via the campus wired or wireless network. With this new setup, he does not have to worry about lugging on his notebook computer and messing around with video-computer screen projection as the essential teaching materials have been pre-loaded onto the networked video projector’s storage space. The document will be uploaded to a Windows CE operating system Pocket PC located within the projector and then converted to JPEG images.

During the tutorial class, the professor can then do his presentation using a remote controller to navigate through his presentation materials. In addition, when there is a need for student presentations, they could use their notebook computers to send their presentation document to the video projector in the tutorial room using the campus wireless network. Thereafter, the presentation can be done by the student without the need to connect the monitor cable and sometimes problematic video signal synchronization process that would hold up the class. The professor and students can also access the web using the built-in Internet browser that is embedded within the network projector. The ease of convenience that wireless video projector brings helps to cultivate collaborative learning further as both professor and students are now able to "show-and-tell" opinions quickly.

Sony Electronics provided the wireless LAN-capable video projectors (FX50 systems) installed in 120 tutorial rooms across campus. These advanced video projectors can be managed centrally and intelligently via network connectivity. Figure 2 below shows how the projector looks like.

Figure 2: aNTUna Video Projector

Lessons Learned

  1. Loss of Transition Effect & Graphics Animation in Presentation Document

As the uploaded file will be converted to image files, all presentation transition effects embedded within the Microsoft PowerPoint document as well as the graphics animations will be lost. Professors need these instructional aids to cast an impact on their students.

  1. Limited Storage Space

There is no physical hard disk located in the projector’s Pocket PC that is running Windows CE operating system and it has very limited onboard memory space (16MB). This imposes a limit to the file size that the professor and students could upload.

The issues mentioned above can be addressed with the availability of a new breed of wireless video projectors. This video projector has a wireless network card attached and it is able to receive video signal from a remote notebook computer that is accessing the wireless network. With this simple setup, there is no need to transfer the presentation document beforehand to the projector as the presenter (professor or student) can do the presentation directly using their individual notebook computers. Professor and students can take turn to connect to the projector by using a projector’s client software (e.g. EPSON Easy-MP) that has to be installed on their notebook computers.

NTU is currently doing evaluations on this new mode of collaborative learning in the tutorial rooms.

Tablet PC - is it just a new hype?

The Tablet PC (http://www.microsoft.com/tabletpc) has been heralded by the IT industry as the next-generation PC, after the desk-top and notebook. The Tablet PC features the capabilities of current business laptops, including attached or detachable keyboards, and it adds digital ink, pen and speech capabilities to the PC. This allows knowledge workers to use the notebook computer in more effective and human-like ways.

The Centre for Educational Development (CED) at NTU recognizes the potential of the Tablet PC in the academic environment, in particular for eLearning. The team from CED was involved in Microsoft’s Tablet PC Early Adoption Program in Nov 2003 and saw the value of having pen inputs as an effective pedagogical tool in teaching and learning. However, there was a so-called killer application that can harness and exploit the full power of pen-based computing in the eLearning context. The default pen input applications that come bundled with Tablet PC operation system, namely Windows Journal and Sticky Notes, are useful for notes taking but they are not integrated within the Learning Management System’s environment that the professors and students are already familiar with.

Author: Daniel Tiong Hok TAN, Chye Seng LEE

27 June 2005

VLE: Blackboard

 


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