Designing a Collaborative Tablet Flash Cards Repository System



Tablet Flash Cards is an application developed from 2007-2009 at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) as part of a pen-based computing class. The application can be used in an authoring mode [figure 1] to create flash card decks and cards can be reviewed in game mode [Figure 2].


gunawardenafig1.bmp   gunawardenafig2.bmp

                                FIGURE 1                                                                             FIGURE 2


Students can create flash card decks using their own handwriting, and by importing images and annotating and providing the question (left window – Figure 1) and answer (Right window – Figure 1). In the game mode students can see the question (left window – Figure 2), write the answer (upper right window – Figure 2) and check the answer (lower right window – Figure 2). Students can choose the mode of play from sequential presentation of cards (presented in the order they were created) or smart algorithm (cards presented based on responses to previous questions).


Flash Card Demo

Pilot Projects

Tablet Flash cards was deployed at several schools and we conducted a formal study in spring 2009 at Ellis School in Shady Side. The application was deployed in an eighth grade geometry classroom at a girls' school in Pittsburgh. Nine students participated in the study and each student was asked to individually create decks of flash cards reviewing the material that they had already learned (“review case”) as well as create separate decks previewing upcoming material (“preview case”). We randomly selected groups of students of different sizes, pooled their flash card decks, and measured the percentages of topics represented on the cards. The teacher's decks were used as the control. We found, in the preview case, that the decks of fewer students covered a higher percentage of material than in the review case. We also surveyed eight students to determine their criteria for selecting material when they created the cards. Half of the students created flash cards for material with which they were confident that they would answer correctly, half created cards for material that they thought they should review more, and 3 out of 8 did both. The findings of this study gave us a better insight into the use of Tablet Flash Cards in a collaborative K-12 educational setting and also for higher education. The complete paper will be published at 2009 WIPTE conference.





Proposed Study

The goal of the proposed study is to design a collaborative Tablet PC flash cards repository system based on the results of the pilot study as well as observations from flash cards use at other schools. The system must consist of flash card application (as shown above) as well as a collaborative platform for exchanging and using flash card decks. In the Ellis pilot students used Google groups as the collaboration platform where they exchanged decks online [Figure 3]. The purpose of this study is to conduct a thorough user study to develop a complete client-server interface for authoring, sharing, reviewing and analyzing card decks.  We hope that current interface to flash card application can be improved, as well as create facilities for role players (teachers and students) and intuitive interface to access an online repository that will encourage easy sharing and collaboration.




Access to resources

Project Team: Ananda Gunawardena, an associate teaching professor of computer science at CMU and YoungJoo Jeong, HCI masters student, who was part of the initial application development in 2007 and further research at schools with Tablet Flash Cards. HCI Graduate students are Vaishali Jain Ana Menezes,Amer Obeidah,Anna Ostberg,Marco Silva,Allison White,Christine Wu


Further Information

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