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Conference Paper: An interactive and pen-based simulator to enhance education and research in computer systems: An experience report

TitleAn interactive and pen-based simulator to enhance education and research in computer systems: An experience report
Authors
Issue Date2009
Citation
2009 International Conference on ICT in Teaching and Learning, Hong Kong, 6-8 July 2009 How to Cite?
AbstractThe active uses of simulators to facilitate and/or promote learners’ experience in many applications has significantly reshaped the latest educational technology or training methodologies in the past decades including the training of engineering students to understand the actual working mechanisms of specific engineering principles, or the military officers on tactic planning in a simulated combat environment. In many cases, it was clearly revealed that the appropriate uses of simulators not only avoids the indispensable costs of human lives or money lost in the hostile combat or investment field, but also effectively motivates and/or enhances the learners’ interests in the relevant fields of study, thus fueling significant impacts on their actual performance. However, many conventional simulators often require the users to input a formal specification file such as a script or program to specify about the simulation settings. Besides, even in many Window based simulators, the users may need to explicitly memorize about the meanings of various system variables and their proper settings before running a simulation to observe the imparted changes. All these unnecessary hassles will drastically reduce the interactivity of simulators, and also lower the users’ interests in using them. With the fast developing tablet and ultra-mobile PCs, we have seen ample opportunities of employing sophisticated pen-based computing technologies to improve the interactivity of simulators in order to enhance the learners’ experience to learn, reason or visualize with simulators in more effective ways. Therefore, in a recent pen-based simulator development project awarded by the Microsoft Research Asia (MSRA), we proposed to use the Microsoft digital ink library to support fast symbol/character recognition and the XML technologies to flexibly define various models of computer architectures so as to build an innovative and pen-based simulator for mobile computing devices. With pen-based or other inputs, our simulator allows the instructors/students to flexibly add or modify instructions that will generate live animations to facilitate interactive discussion for teaching undergraduate to postgraduate courses. Besides, our simulator has the full potential to support research on computer systems through visualization of new results generated out of new computational models or optimization strategies. A prototype of our simulator was completed and then released to all our Year-1 students for trials in the last month in which we collected some initial and positive feedbacks. A more vigorous evaluation was planned and would be conducted by the end of this spring semester. All in all, there are many interesting directions for further investigation including the integration of relevant course materials in the form of digital resources or pointers to online databases into our simulator, and a careful study of the pedagogical changes brought by our innovative and pen-based simulator.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/117377

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorTam, VWLen_HK
dc.contributor.authorYeung, Jen_HK
dc.contributor.authorLeung, CHen_HK
dc.contributor.authorLam, EYM-
dc.contributor.authorSalter Menzo, DJ-
dc.date.accessioned2010-09-26T07:14:05Z-
dc.date.available2010-09-26T07:14:05Z-
dc.date.issued2009en_HK
dc.identifier.citation2009 International Conference on ICT in Teaching and Learning, Hong Kong, 6-8 July 2009-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/117377-
dc.description.abstractThe active uses of simulators to facilitate and/or promote learners’ experience in many applications has significantly reshaped the latest educational technology or training methodologies in the past decades including the training of engineering students to understand the actual working mechanisms of specific engineering principles, or the military officers on tactic planning in a simulated combat environment. In many cases, it was clearly revealed that the appropriate uses of simulators not only avoids the indispensable costs of human lives or money lost in the hostile combat or investment field, but also effectively motivates and/or enhances the learners’ interests in the relevant fields of study, thus fueling significant impacts on their actual performance. However, many conventional simulators often require the users to input a formal specification file such as a script or program to specify about the simulation settings. Besides, even in many Window based simulators, the users may need to explicitly memorize about the meanings of various system variables and their proper settings before running a simulation to observe the imparted changes. All these unnecessary hassles will drastically reduce the interactivity of simulators, and also lower the users’ interests in using them. With the fast developing tablet and ultra-mobile PCs, we have seen ample opportunities of employing sophisticated pen-based computing technologies to improve the interactivity of simulators in order to enhance the learners’ experience to learn, reason or visualize with simulators in more effective ways. Therefore, in a recent pen-based simulator development project awarded by the Microsoft Research Asia (MSRA), we proposed to use the Microsoft digital ink library to support fast symbol/character recognition and the XML technologies to flexibly define various models of computer architectures so as to build an innovative and pen-based simulator for mobile computing devices. With pen-based or other inputs, our simulator allows the instructors/students to flexibly add or modify instructions that will generate live animations to facilitate interactive discussion for teaching undergraduate to postgraduate courses. Besides, our simulator has the full potential to support research on computer systems through visualization of new results generated out of new computational models or optimization strategies. A prototype of our simulator was completed and then released to all our Year-1 students for trials in the last month in which we collected some initial and positive feedbacks. A more vigorous evaluation was planned and would be conducted by the end of this spring semester. All in all, there are many interesting directions for further investigation including the integration of relevant course materials in the form of digital resources or pointers to online databases into our simulator, and a careful study of the pedagogical changes brought by our innovative and pen-based simulator.-
dc.languageengen_HK
dc.relation.ispartofInternational Conference on ICT in Teaching and Learningen_HK
dc.rightsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.-
dc.titleAn interactive and pen-based simulator to enhance education and research in computer systems: An experience reporten_HK
dc.typeConference_Paperen_HK
dc.identifier.emailTam, VWL: vtam@eee.hku.hken_HK
dc.identifier.emailLam, EYM: elam@eee.hku.hken_HK
dc.identifier.emailSalter Menzo, DJ: djsalter@hkucc.hku.hken_HK
dc.identifier.authorityTam, VWL=rp00173en_HK
dc.identifier.authorityLam, EYM=rp00131en_HK
dc.identifier.authoritySalter Menzo, DJ=rp00954en_HK
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.hkuros157603en_HK

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