Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Education day

Today I am preparing a presentation for the 1st day (actually it's an afternoon) of education at our Faculty of Science and Technology, which will be held tomorrow in the Horst building of the University of Twente. The education day is organised for all teachers, mentors, instructors who are involved in the primary process of education. It's a moment of reflection and information exchange about a specific educational theme. The main theme of tomorrow is the use of ICT in Education. After a word of welcome by the dean Alfred Bliek and an overview presentation by former ITBE colleague Jan van der Veen, the rest of the afternoon will consist of two mainstreams: Best practices of ict in education within the Faculty of Science and Technology and the use of (ICT) materials within the so-called SkillsLab. "The Skillslab is a learning environment in which the authentic professional environment is simulated and fits the demands for training of diverse students (e.g. technical medicine and nursing students but also professionals of all healthcare disciplines). It supports the regular study program in the development and maintaining of skills, the planning and preparation of complex interventions. It is not only a learning environment but also a research facility in which equipment and intervention modalities can be developed and evaluated" (http://www.tnw.utwente.nl/tg/skillslab/). My presentation will be presented as a best practice on the use of Maple TA (mathematic testing software) within the advanced technology course Introduction to Engineering I (I2E1). I am giving this presentation in my role as a project manager of the Digital University project Integrated Science Education. It was intended that Gijs Krijnen would give the presentation himself, but unfortunately he will not be in Twente this afternoon. Besides a general introduction on I2E1 I will focus on the use of diagnostic testing by means of Maple TA. One of the objectives was to 'force' students in a working mode, because they could take several Maple TA tests during a period of 4 weeks. It was possible to achieve a limited amount of bonus points that could be used to upgrade the final test score. The evaluation showed that 70% of the students (n=82) completed at least 1 Maple TA test, 45% of the students achieved a score on all Maple TA tests. Within the group of students who achieved Maple TA scores (and potential bonus points) it showed that 48% passed the final test. Without the bonus points only 31% would have passed the test. Besides activating the students, Maple TA is also considered a environment that is able to form a bridge between the math and physics domain. By exercising mathematical concepts (e.g. differentiation), it becomes easier to apply these in a physics context (e.g. Newton's Law). Although further improvements can be made, Gijs Krijnen considers Maple TA as a useful tool to improve I2E1. It's very likely that Maple TA will also be embedded I2E1 during the academic year 2007-2008. Perhaps the education day will create an enlarged interest within the faculty.

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