Scholarly article on topic 'Interactive presentation towards students’ engagement'

Interactive presentation towards students’ engagement Academic research paper on "Educational sciences"

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{"presentation systems" / "multi touch screen" / "handwriting recognition" / "Windows 7" / "students’ education" / "active learning ;"}

Abstract of research paper on Educational sciences, author of scientific article — Katarína Jelemenská, Pavel Čičák, Viktor Dúcky

Abstract Electronic presentations have gained increasing importance in the education process of students. In recent times, a majority of presentation systems have been used for creating static presentations that cannot be easily changed during the presentation. This disadvantage prevents the instructor from reacting accordingly to students’ initiatives. The present study demonstrates the use of a presentation system for Tablet computers supporting multi-touch screens. The new presentation system expands the capabilities of the instructor during presentations and allows him to gain better interactivity with students. The complete system is comprised of two main applications: The first one is used for creating presentations using multi-touch screen, and the second one helps the instructor in the presentation process.

Academic research paper on topic "Interactive presentation towards students’ engagement"

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Social and Behavioral Sciences

Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 29 (2011) 1645 - 1653

International Conference on Education and Educational Psychology (ICEEPSY 2011)

Interactive presentation towards students' engagement

Katarina Jelemenskäa' Pavel Cicäka, Viktor Duckya

aFaculty of Informatics and Information Technologies, Slovak University of Technology, Bratislava 842 16, Slovakia



Electronic presentations have gained increasing importance in the education process of students. In recent times, a majority of presentation systems have been used for creating static presentations that cannot be easily changed during the presentation. This disadvantage prevents the instructor from reacting accordingly to students' initiatives. The present study demonstrates the use of a presentation system for Tablet computers supporting multi-touch screens. The new presentation system expands the capabilities of the instructor during presentations and allows him to gain better interactivity with students. The complete system is comprised of two main applications: The first one is used for creating presentations using multi-touch screen, and the second one helps the instructor in the presentation process.

©2011PublishedbyElsevier Ltd.Selectionand/or peer-review under responsibilityofDr Zafer Bekirogullari.

Keywords: presentation systems; multi touch screen; handwriting recognition; Windows 7; students' education; active learning;

1. Introduction

The evolution of Information Technology has affected every aspect of our lives, including education. Few years ago, the chalk and blackboard were used at colleges during presentations; however, today we can hardly find any school using such a technique. The role of chalk has been replaced by digital projectors, and presentations are stored in electronic form. Thus, presentations have become a significant part of students' education system. The quality of a presentation designates the ability of students to understand a given topic. The advantage of this form of presentation is the ability to display various sketches or images in a manner that can help students to understand the topic in a more practical way. The use of fonts makes it considerably clearer to read when compared to an instructor's handwriting on a blackboard. In addition, various text effects can help in gaining the attention of students during classes. In spite of these advantages, several electronic presentations, although enriched with drawings, pictures, photos etc., often fail to catch students' attention. One of the main reasons is the loss of interactivity with students which was an advantage of the previously used blackboard-and-chalk presentation style.

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +421-910-942-659; fax: +421-2-654-20587. E-mail address:

1877-0428 © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of Dr Zafer Bekirogullari. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.11.407

Most of the presentation applications available for large auditoriums do not support active entries into the presentation which is necessary to improve student-teacher interaction. Nevertheless, the return to the blackboard-and-chalk style is not the solution to this problem. Instead, the newest information and communication technologies (ICT) should be used for combining the advantages of various presentation styles into a modern presentation system that will support some of the active learning features (Enriquez et al., 2006; Harris et al., 2008; Jelemenska et al., 2010; Johnson et al., 2006; Jurikovic et al., 2010). Instructors should be able to annotate the presentation by the use of attention catching marks, by writing illustrating examples, drawing pictures etc. and at the same time, it should be possible for students to follow the presentation on their individual computers, to add their own notes or to take part in the feedback tests.

2. Related work

At present there are various presentation systems available in the market, the most popular programs being Classroom Presenter, DyKnow, Ink Survey, Microsoft PowerPoint, Ubiquitous Presenter, and RitePen. Table 1 depicts the basic characteristics of these six presentation systems.

Classroom Presenter (Anderson et al., 2005, 2006; University of Washington, 2008) is a program created at the University of Washington. This system was originally designed for Windows XP; however, as the development progressed Windows Vista and Windows 7 support were added as well. This presentation system includes several modes of presentation. In addition to the standard projection mode, a network projection mode is also available here. The network mode enables students to connect to the instructor's computer which is streaming the active presentation. At the same time, the instructor can have control over whether students can view the entire presentation or limit their view only to the active slide. There are, however, some limitations to using this presentation system. It is possible to import images to the active slide but the program works only with presentations created in Microsoft Office. Export to several formats including HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) is available; however, PDF (Portable Document Format) and XPS (XAML Paper Specification) formats are not supported. Nevertheless, the user interface is relatively simple, and the functions of drawing and switching slides do support touch screen. For other functions, it is required to use a drop down menu, which is very small to touch with fingers and thus stylus must be used. The main advantage of this presentation system is that it is a freeware application.

Enhanced Classroom Presenter (Jelemenska et al., in press) was developed at the Faculty of Informatics and Information Technology, Slovak University of Technology, based on the Classroom Presenter 3.1 which is an open source software. Using the basic functionality of the earlier software, some extensions were designed and implemented mainly to enhance the editing, import, and export possibilities of the tool. The main extensions include the import and export of PDF documents, import of Word documents, presentation publishing, and zoom in, reflector, and slide movement functions. In addition, this new version offers the option of copying an entire slide or just an image or text sheet layers and also pasting the clipboard content into the presentation or in the current slide. However, the multi-touch screen support was not implemented.

DyKnow (Berque, 2006) - This presentation system allows an instructor to create a presentation prior to classes and add notes later during the presentation. All notes are synchronized with student computers where each student can make his own notes on his personal notebook. These notebooks can be saved at the end of the presentation. Dy Know allows students to submit their own sketches to the teacher or anonymously answer questions polled by the instructor. In addition, they can also share their own notebook, e.g. if a student answers correctly a polling question, he can send his answer to other students in the class. DyKnow is a commercial solution.

Ubiquitous Presenter (Wilkerson et al., 2005) is based on the Classroom Presenter presentation system. The authors added features that were lacking for most users of the Classroom Presenter. The application model was changed from installable application to a web-based system. Using this system, students can access the presentation by opening a specific web browser page where the entire presentation is downloaded onto their computers. These

Table 1. Comparative analysis of presentation systems

Presentation System Operating System Multi-touch screen support Handwriting Recognition Presentations creation Instructors mode PDF or XPS export Students submissions

Classroom Presenter Windows XP, Vista, 7 No No No Yes No Yes

Enhanced Classroom Presenter Windows XP, Windows 7 No No No Yes Yes Yes

DyKnow Windows No No Yes Yes No Yes

InkSurvey Web based No No Yes No No Yes

Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 Windows XP, Vista, 7 No No Yes Yes Yes No

Ubiquitous presenter Web based No No Yes No No Yes

RitePen Windows XP, Vista, 7 No Yes No No No No

changes thus enhance the control of presentation for students. They can now view the presentation in synchronous or asynchronous order, view strokes made by the instructor, as well as create submissions.

Ink Survey (Kowalski et al., 2007a, 2007b) - This presentation system comes from the School of Mines in Colorado and can be downloaded for free directly from the college web site. It uses web-based client-server architecture to create and display presentations. An instructor uses the web browser to enter questions into this system. Subsequently, during the presentation, he can use these questions and collect responses from students. A student must be registered in the system in order to answer any question. The application allows response by text or drawings. In case of drawings, the student can use the touch screen and draw using the stylus. It is not possible to export the presentation to other formats. Also, user interface is not adjusted to touch control.

Microsoft Power Point 2010 (Microsoft Corporation, 2010) is the latest version of the famous program by Microsoft. This program can be used to create professional looking and eye catching presentations. Numerous functions and text effects are available to the instructor. The advantage of this application is the Presenter View mode. In this mode, the instructor can view his own notes while students can view only the presentation. The user interface has been dramatically changed since the 2007 version. In addition to the common drop-down menu a so-called ribbon menu is used. This type of menu is easier to use on tablet computers; however, as there are still some small 16 px buttons, navigation in this menu can be sometimes annoying. It is relatively easy to insert objects on the slide; however, the multi-touch screen cannot be used to transform an object on canvas. Presentations created in this system can be exported to several formats including portable formats like PDF or XPS.

Rite Pen (Evernote Production, n. d.) is an application for commercial use, and therefore, it is not available for free. The main contribution of this software is the ability to convert any type of screen to drawing canvas. Consecutively, it is possible to use stylus and draw on the screen using touch input. Inked areas can be translated into computer based text. Handwriting recognition of this program is on a very high level. Stroke analysis is almost always correct; a list of alternative translations can be used as well. In this list, the program displays the most likely alternatives to translation and each item on the list is paired with the corresponding percentage probability. Rite Pen does not use in-built API (Application Programming Interface) of operating system, and therefore it is not dependent on an installed language version of the system. In addition, the system also supports diacritics.

Based on this analysis of the six presentation systems, we discovered that the technology of the majority of these systems is becoming outdated. It is thought that ink analysis and multi-touch screen support can have significant

importance in building new presentations; however, none of the analyzed systems has support for multi-touch screens and Rite Pen is the only application that supports handwriting recognition. Also, the usage of web-based presentation systems is possible only in situations wherein all students have their own computers. This requires schools to provide each student with an individual computer; however, only a few states can afford such a high level of education system. Another useful feature of a presentation system is that it allows exporting the created presentation to some portable format. Thus, it is not necessary to again install the application on other computers. Also, the instructors mode in the presentation process is very helpful. Using this mode, the instructor can use his/her own notes that are invisible to students which will help him/her to focus and concentrate on the topic being presented. For these reasons, we decided to build a new presentation system that would run only on the instructor's computer. The usage of multi-touch screen technology and handwriting recognition will allow the instructor to quickly build new presentations on tablet PC devices.

3. Presentation system design

The entire presentation system is designed for full support of tablet computers. The user interface is adjusted to be operated by use of fingers, and thus, users will need to use stylus only in case of writing or drawing. To achieve the best quality of handwriting recognition, Windows 7 operating system API has been used. Through the dotNet 4.0 library, multi-touch gestures are recognized and used for transforming items on slides.

3.1. Designer Application

The Designer application is used for creating presentations like in Microsoft PowerPoint, the basic philosophy being the same here: the presentation consists of slides, where each slide can handle text, images, drawings or multimedia files. The difference, however, is in the concept of storing these objects on the slide. Our new

Figure 1. Designer application allows new presentation creation and existing presentations editing.

presentation system uses a well-known layered model for example from Adobe Photoshop application. Figure 1 (Ducky, 2011) displays the main window of the Designer application. Each object on a slide represents a single layer, which can be moved either to the front or backwards in horizontal arrangement. A list of all objects on the slide is provided in a layers' list on the lefthand side. The drag and drop function can be used in this list for reordering items just by use of fingers. By changing this order in the list, all objects on the slide are affected and objects' overlapping is changed.

It can be seen that in the top area of the window there is a menu inspired by Microsoft Ribbon technology. This makes the application easy to use just by the touch of fingers, thereby declining the commonly used drop-down style menus. Our menu is separated into several tabs according to button functions. Each button is at least 48 x 48 pixels in size so that it is comfortable for the instructor to touch and select. Figure 2 (Ducky, 2011) depicts the Insert tab in this menu that allows inserting various objects on the active slide.

This menu is programmatically connected with the layer list. Each time the user selects an object from the list, the corresponding menu tab is activated. If the user touches the object on canvas with his fingers, the Transformations tab is selected. This tab includes all the buttons used to resize, rotate and move objects. If the user does not use any of these functions within three seconds time, the menu is automatically switched back to its previous tab. Any object on the slide can be manipulated using the multi-touch screen. Drag, rotate, and scale multi-touch gestures are supported and used to move, rotate and resize slide items. It is also possible to use pen actions. A pen flick from right to left can be used to move to the next slide, and similarly a pen flick from left to right can be used to move to the previous slide.

To make a presentation more appealing for students, transparency can be set for each layer. This can be done via the Layers tab in the menu or just by double clicking the appropriate layer and selecting the desired extent of transparency. Subsequently, by combining layer overlapping and transparency various effects can be achieved. It is also possible to add inking layer during presentation design. This layer allows the instructor to add his/her own handwritten text or drawings and sketches. The instructor can choose from several types of brushes, sizes, and colors. Each stroke can be selected and transformed to the text layer by use of Windows 7 handwriting recognition API wherein the instructor can choose from up to ten translation alternatives.

The Designer application is able to import existing presentations stored as an XPS document. In this case, the document is parsed by pages where a new slide is created for each page and an image layer with a visual of the page is inserted on the created slide. Documents created can be stored in application specific format that uses XAML (extensible Application Markup Language) structure. In this format, all text labels, strokes, images, and XPS pages are stored in order to preserve the document's portability. The presentation can also be exported to PDF format using Sharp PDF library functions or XPS format using dotNet functions.

3.2. Presenter application

The Presenter application helps an instructor in the presentation process. It allows him to display the presentation created in Designer application and at the same time offers some additional functions that are not supported by other presentation systems. The entire application is designed in Windows Presentation Platform, thereby allowing interface controls to be translucent and therefore not covering the slide area.

The main advantage of this application is the so-called dual view. The application can be switched to this mode after a second of display or after the projector is detected. In this mode, the presentation is cloned in two separate windows, where the first window is displayed on the instructor's notebook and the second one is displayed on the projector. The content displayed on the projector window can be controlled directly from the instructor's PC. Figure 3 (Ducky, 2011) depicts the Instructor's screen. It consists of presentation and GUI controls required for

Rle Insert Layer Text Layer Image Layer Ink Layer Multimedia Layer Transformations Slide Presentation

Layers i ÎÏî Text Image Ink Multimedia Slides —J new

Figure 2. The main menu of the Designer application is designed to be controlled by touch.

| Figure 3. Instructor's screen in dual view mode. Each GUI panel can be set to invisible allowing partially hidden parts to be clearly visible. Semi-transparent GUI control guarantee a good overview of all presentation parts.

presentation manipulation. On the lefthand side of the screen, a list of all objects on the active slide is available. Each object can be set as visible or invisible on the projector's screen thus leading to a better control of the topic presented. The corresponding Projector screen visible to students is displayed in Figure 4. No GUI elements are displayed in the Projector's screen neither the slide layers that were set invisible.

The layered approach allows an instructor to explain a more difficult problem by separating it into further layers. For example, eye structure can be explained by first showing only the basic eye structure. When this structure is explained, additional more complex parts can be shown by setting another layer to be visible. If there is any question from students, layers can be set to be invisible again and thus the more complex topic is simplified.

Any time during the presentation, the instructor can use drawing tools and add his/her own notes. Drawing tools are displayed any time the instructor selects inking canvas located at the top of the layers list. In this way the instructor can use notes of different colors, different ink styles, as well as highlighters. Strokes drawn previously can be erased at anytime using a rubber. Another significant feature of the Presentation application is the ability to "freeze" the presentation on the projector's screen. Using this function the slide displayed on the projector's screen remains the same while the instructor can navigate through the presentation displayed on his/her PC. For example, a video can be played on a projector while the instructor can move to the next slide or read other parts of the presentation. When the video is complete, the instructor will "unfreeze" the projector's slide and it automatically synchronizes with the presentation.

3.3. Presentation Library

The separation of presentation system into two different programs required a third part as well - a library consisting of common presentation objects that are available to both mentioned applications - the Designer and the

Figure 4. The corresponding Projector's screen visible to students.

Presenter. The presentation library is a base unit of the entire system as it holds all the objects needed to create a presentation. The presentation slide is comprised of several layers with a special type for each layer, e.g. text layer holding text content, multimedia layer managing audio and video files, image layer ensuring work with images, and so on. These layer objects are arranged to form a slide, and therefore, the slide object contains all the layers as in a real presentation. It has methods to manipulate layers in vertical order. A single slide or a group is linked to a presentation object. The presentation object itself corresponds to a real presentation. This kind of architecture makes it simple to add new functions as new types of layers can be easily added to the already existing collection. Figure 5 depicts the connection of objects in the library as described herein.

4. Results and experience

The implemented presentation system is capable of building presentations comparable to those created by professional software solutions. For now it is possible to insert text, images, audio, video and ink on the presentation slides. Multi-touch screen can be used in the presentation process and handwriting recognition allows for better use of in-built touch screens of tablet computers. Navigation gestures can be used to move between slides. The overall interaction with this system is considerably more natural than other presentation systems can offer. The Presentation mode used by the Presenter application has proven to be a success.

The impact of this interactive presentation style on students' engagement was observed in several courses. The practice indicates that the interactive presentations made it considerably easier to explain and illustrate the study material in the course, at the same time increasing the course attractiveness and students' involvement in the learning process. From the teacher's viewpoint, it is an excellent motivation to present lectures to students that are interested in the presented material. On the other hand, students can easily acquire the presentations and store them for further reading.

As the system is in an early stage of development, additional features will be implemented in the future. Functions for table insertion, drawn shapes recognition, 3D rendering and themes support will be added. Custom file format can be changed from XAML to Open XML, thus enabling Microsoft Office documents to be opened directly for editing.

5. Conclusions

Attracting students' attention during a lecture presentation is a common issue. Several approaches have been designed and implemented using pen-based technologies to obtain a solution. The results indicate that today tablet

Figure 5 Presentation architecture as defined in the presentation library.

computer has proved to be the most suitable technology for this purpose when accompanied with a modern presentation system.

In this article, we described the interactive presentation system designed for faster presentation development and improved co-operation with students. In the process of development, layering and transparency can be used to achieve modern and eye-catching presentation appearance to attract the audience. With this system, creating a presentation becomes a quick process on a computer equipped with multi-touch screen. The Presenter application allows an instructor to display notes on his screen while being hidden on the projected slide. The advantage of dual view makes it easier to explain a difficult topic by separating it into further layers and then demonstrating the various layers sequentially to students. To make the presentation portable, the system enables the instructor to export the presentation in PDF and XPS formats.


This work was partially supported by Slovak Science Grant Agency (VEGA 1/0649/09 "Security and reliability in distributed computer systems and mobile computer networks") and Slovak Cultural and Educational Grant Agency (KEGA 022STU-4/2012 " MEDU - technical corses mobile laboratory").


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