Researchers at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine have found that providing veterinary students with tablets in a paperless classroom environment has benefited them and the faculty.
"The use of tablet PCs, or personal computers, has been investigated in many disciplines such as engineering, mathematics, science and education, but we wanted to explore student and faculty attitudes and experiences in veterinary medical education," said Hong Wang, coordinator of instructional technology and design at the veterinary college.
The school began issuing the tablets in 2007. Students download or write notes and use document management systems to store them on their tablets. The tablets either come with styluses or feature touchscreens, allowing for handwritten notes or drawings.
Researchers did notice that some students were distracted by the possibilities a digitized classroom opens up with internet access. However, one strategy to prevent this was to use programs made to block access to noneducational websites.
The study reported that despite the potential for distraction, the use of tablets in the classroom increased student efficiency. Additionally, the faculty was able to better pursue technological innovations meant to improve their students' learning outcome. Content management services have been popular as a way to convert to a paperless office environment, save money and create a more efficient workspace.