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Dpto. Lenguajes y Ciencias de la Computación.
E.T.S.I. Informática.


Bulevar Louis Pasteur, 35. Campus de Teatinos.
Universidad de Málaga.
29071. Málaga (España).

Mail:

Phone: +34 952 13 28 12

Fax: +34 952 13 13 97

Junta de Andalucía Unión Europea

Devices

 

This Project is aimed at introducing technology as an additional element for teaching, playing and learning support in the classroom. According to this, we follow the metaphor of “Learning with the computer” instead of “Learning from the computer”, as children find each device is an additional working element, being always supported and monitored by the teacher, who knows the needs of each pupil and can therefore guide their learning and maturing process. With the aim of completing and supporting daily tasks, and to make these activities involve no kind of unauthorized teaching practices by unlicensed professionals, we are currently exploring the possibilities offered by different technological devices when used in the classroom according to the pedagogical and methodological needs of the class.

 

Touchscreen

3-year-old children have not enough psychomotor maturity to use a computer mouse with the necessary precision. Besides, they find it complex to understand they move something with a hand and that a completely different thing occurs on the screen. Children understand better and more easily that they touch an object and then something happens. For this reason, instead of using conventional computers with mouse, touchscreens are used in the present Project. The size of these screens is large enough to be similar to large working desks, where things happen.

Touchscreens are placed horizontally (sometimes slightly tilted in order to improve visibility) at the same height of classroom desks, being accessed through the chairs as if they were conventional wooden desks. In tasks presenting contents in two languages or to promote children’s concentration, headphones shall sometimes complete this learning/teaching scenario.

This configuration has been used for two main kinds of software applications: APRENDO (example on the left-hand side) and TRAZO (on the right-hand side). In the latter case, touchscreens are not precisely aimed at practicing writing skills, but as a writing activities with fingers (note children have to place their finger vertically) aimed at fostering psycho motor functions in a different way, being highly productive and motivating graphomotor tasks for students. However, touchscreens for writing tasks also involve several drawbacks: although the aim of the activity is different, pupils’ handwriting tends to be pencil-like or finger-like (i.e., they rest their hands on the screen; therefore, all the space signalled by their fingers and the space their hands are rested on becomes written).

 

Touchscreen is generally used in individual learning tasks.

 

pantalla-tactil-1

Making series from an isolated element

pantalla-tactil-escribir

Performing traces with the fingers

 

Tablet-PC

 

This device applies the metaphor “Learning with the computer”, since the latter is incorporated as an additional classroom resource, as it allows children working at their usual working desks. For children, tablet PCs enable them to do many different things, such as writing, moving objects, watching videos, etc. We take advantage of this situation for graphomotor activities (performing traces in 3-year-olds) or writing activities (in 4-5 year-olds). We began working with HP equipment. However, multiple problems arose when writing letters on a gridded space, since the pencil did not reach the required precision. These problems did not arise with 3-year-old pupils, who only performed traces. The selection of a Fujitsu model subsequently solved all the problems arisen in previous activities.

 

tablet-escribo1 tablet-trazo1

 

Teachers find that the possibility of performing tasks in different ways, according to child age, is very interesting, since it helps students to develop their psychomotor capacities. As touchscreens have been used to complete writing tasks, tablet PCs have also been used for cognitive activities through the software applications APRENDO and LEO with 3- and 4-year-old children, respectively. In this case, children did not interact with their fingers but by means of the tablet-PC pencil and their performance and precision was satisfactory, being rather similar to that achieved when working with their fingers on touchscreens.

 

Smartboard slate

Interactive slates are an essential element in this Project, being mainly used for group activities in the following manner: children put themselves around the smartboard and the teacher organizes the turns for them to go to the slate. Every time a child is called, he/she has to identify him/herself, looking for his/her picture in the lower side of the slate and pressing on it.

These slates are used in reading-writing, memory and graphomotor activities.

 

pantalla-smar3 pantalla-smart1

 

Tabletop NIKVision

The NIKVison Tabletop is a device developed by Javier Marco from the University of Zaragoza. Pupils use this device to  solve exercises collaborating with each other and playing with tangible elements that the table is capable of detecting and processing. These elements don't need any sort of modification, except for the printed code at the bottom to be detected by the table.

Tabletop NIKVision
Tabletop NIKVision

 

Self-scanning tablets

This device has been used in graphomotor tasks for trace writing. The objective was proving their suitability for software applications TRAZO and ESCRIBO, thus enabling us to work with the metaphor of pencil and paper. Results are automatically scanned and stored in the device. This is theoretically possible, but in practice, results with young age children are not so satisfactory, since they move and crumple the paper on the tablet and sometimes they even remove it. This involves imprecision in stored images, which are not exactly the same as those obtained when tasks are scanned on paper. Therefore, no precise results are obtained when they are corrected automatically. Furthermore, the “add page” or “reset” buttons are on the tablet, thus being accessible to the children, who occasionally press them, thus becoming another source of errors and problems when correcting the activities. For this reason, activities on paper are completed on papers containing an identification barcode and subsequently scanned.

tableta1 tableta2

 

Paper + Scanner

These devices are not used by children, but their writing works on paper can be introduced in the system by means of a scanning and barcode reading process. This allows studying and monitoring the advance of each child’s motor skills, on one hand, and comparing if the results obtained on paper are similar to those achieved when writing is directly performed on the tablet-PC, on the other.

 

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