A Teaching and Learning Softboard Application

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A TEACHING AND LEARNING SOFTBOARD APPLICATION
Andresile Peter and Benedict Oyo
Department of Computer Science
Gulu University
peterandresile@gmail.com and benoyo@gmail.com
Abstract:
A soft-board application allows users to write, draw, and manipulate graphics just like they would do with physical aids such as chalk/white boards or pen and paper. These applications have over the years advanced from basic shapes and colouring to merged shapes, rotating shapes, patterns, and web themes. At the same time, existing tools on soft-board applications are limited to texts, selections, arrows, pencil, connectors, basic shapes, stars, and flowcharts, hence less appropriate for teaching and learning. This paper investigates tools needed in teaching and learning and develops an extended soft-board application with most tools for physical and biological sciences. A comparative analysis with related applications is made, scoring our application highest on easy of use, learnability, and usability features of effective user interface design. Introduction

A Softboard application is a software application that can be used by learners, teachers, and facilitators, among others, to perform activities such as illustrations, drawings or other writings just like they would do on a chalk/white board, or using pen/pencil and paper. The application can be used as a teaching/learning aid instead of physical teaching/learning aids such as chalk/white board, charts, to mention and allows work to be saved for future reference. This application ultimately provides all those and even many more utilities (functionalities) that a teacher/learner needs in an educational well-being especially in this era where education is diverting away from hard-materials such as text books and chalk boards in preference to soft-materials such as e-learning tools and soft board application. State-of-the-art

Critique of related applications
Despite of the increasing influx of computer technology in education, little emphasis has been given to applications that can enable learners and teachers perform calculations as well as illustrations (diagrams/drawings) that are equivalent to those aids such as white/chalk board or pen and paper, to meet Ugandan Educational needs. As a result, the need to develop such applications is eminent to allow learners, teachers, facilitators, instructors, among others perform calculations, illustrations and other writings, just like they would do on a chalk/white board or using pen and paper that are tailored towards Uganda’s Standards, including lower levels of education.

UGADraw
The SoftBoard Interface

Figure 1: SoftBoard Interface
This is the interface for the SoftBoard that provides the user with various tools for illustrations and text (both keyboard text and handwritten text) for instructional and/or teaching purposes. It has a title bar that (when maximised), contains the name of the main application (that is, UGADraw), the name of the file being worked on (which assigns it a default name ‘Untitled SoftBoard’ for an unnamed file) and the name of the sub-application processing that file (that is, SoftBoard). This title bar also contains minimise, maximise (or restore) and close buttons for minimising, maximising (restoring) and closing the whole (main) application. But when minimised or restored, the file name and the sub-application named are transferred to the sub-application window title bar. It also has a menu bar that contains the following menu items; File, Edit, View, Format, Window, Drawing, Tools and Help. The File menu contains items such as New, Open, Save, Save As, Print and Recent file list for file operations. The Edit menu contains functions for editing the file such as Undo, Redo, Cut, Copy, Paste, Select All and Print Screen (for capturing the screen contents). The View menu has the items for changing the visibility of some tools such as the Tool bars, Status bar as well as the Rulers (vertical and...
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