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Collaborative Learning with Technology
At a Glance

Objectives
To explore ways to use a tablet PC's features, e.g., note taking software and the editable screen with stylus to support collaborative learning

To adapt mobile technologies to serve as study aids during lecture and in support of small group activities

Gather feedback during regular meetings with project participants, and formative and summative evaluations






Fig 1: Collaboration with technologies, in school and in clinical practice


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Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Office of Academic Computing
1600 McElderry St
MEB 310
Baltimore, MD 21205
410.955.2359


Overview
In the Second Year Medical School Course, we are working with students to devise collaborative learning environments as a way to extend the learning process beyond the traditional lecture-based curriculum.

The participants in this pilot project rely on several types of techology to sustain collaboration and support the mastery of medical knowledge. Their collaborative tools include, for example, tablet PCs for annotation of lecture notes and slides.

The students use a wiki for documentation and as a way to maintain a network of shared course information. iGoogle and Google Docs support a dialogue about the course work outside the classroom and their impressions of the technology tools.


Challenge
Students in the Second Year Medical School course balance a significant daily workload that includes hours of lectures interspersed with labs, clinical skills, and discussion sessions. As their workload increases, the students are also intent on keeping up to date with the latest research.

Our goal is to foster collaborative active learning environments and to lessen the burden of information overload and learner isolation. Given the emergence of increasingly sophisticated mobile technologies and medical students' regular use of digital communication and social networking tools, our work builds on these trends in order to enhance the students' knowledge retention and transfer.


Solution
Technology integration
For this project, we lent Tablet PCs to the students. Beyond their use during lectures and other class sessions, we encouraged the students to play with the tablet system in order to get used to it and to understand what it can and can't do.

This meant the students not only took notes and wrote on the slides. They also explored other software tools with capabilities such as a snipping tool for screen capture ,a pdf annotator, and ink flash cards.

The students contributed to a wiki several times a week to record their impressions and to provide insight on the ways that the tools such as a tablet or laptop support or hinder the learning process. In addition, the students used iGoogle and Google Docs to facilitate collaboration outside the classroom.

Tools
Hardware (Tablet PCs); tablet software for annotation with stylus; collaboration software