Comparative study of netbooks and tablet PCs for fostering face-to-face collaborative learning

Claudio Alvarez*, Christian Brown, Miguel Nussbaum

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


With the recent appearance of netbooks and low-cost tablet PCs, a study was undertaken to explore their potential in the classroom and determine which of the two device types is more suitable in this setting. A collaborative learning activity based on these devices was implemented in 5 sessions of a graduate engineering course of 20 students, most of whom were aged 22-25 and enrolled in undergraduate computer science and information technology engineering programs. Student behavior attributes indicating oral and gesture-based communication were observed and evaluated. Our findings indicate that in the context in which this study was undertaken, tablet PCs strengthen collective discourse capabilities and facilitate a richer and more natural body language. The students preferred tablet PCs to netbooks and also indicated greater self-confidence in expressing their ideas with the tablet's digital ink and paper technology than with the netbooks' traditional vertical screen and keyboard arrangement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)834-844
Number of pages11
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was partially funded by FONDECYT-CONICYT Grant No. 1080100 and by INTEL .


  • Collaboration 1:1
  • Comparative study
  • Face-to-face computer supported collaborative learning
  • Netbooks
  • Tablets
  • Technology in the classroom


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparative study of netbooks and tablet PCs for fostering face-to-face collaborative learning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this