Math in Your Hands: Integrating the Use of Maple with the Collaborative Use of Wireless Tablet PCs

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In the Fall Quarter of 2008 we explored the use of tablet PCs in third-quarter (multivariable) calculus classes for incoming freshman in order to foster student engagement by incorporating active learning and collaborative activities. The use of tablets can make many improvements in a classroom, but mathematics classes pose special challenges which have not yet been systematically explored at Rose-Hulman. The most difficult of these from a technical perspective is the integration of computer algebra systems such as Maple with other Tablet PC software, such as collaborative note-taking systems. This project explores ways to achieve this integration as well as other pedagogical improvements which the use of tablet PCs could bring to mathematics classrooms. We will report on student answers to questions about familiarity, ease of use, and effects on learning.