Gore classroom gets gadget update
Published: Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 04:09
In professor Stephen Bernhardt's classroom in Gore Hall, students can use an iPad to write on a whiteboard hanging across the room as their classmates can project their laptop screens onto five flat-screen TVs lining the room.
"One student said, ‘Oh, this is like a spaceship,'" Bernhardt said. Bernhardt teaches an introductory writing class in Gore 218, a conference room that was recently transformed into a high-tech classroom by the university's Academic Technology Services.
Bernhardt, who began using computers in class in the 1970s, said the tools offered in Gore 218 can foster more student participation.
"It de-centers the teacher and gets students actively working," Bernhardt said.
Sophomore Nicole Seymour, a student in Bernhardt's class, said she was initially unsure what role the room's gadgets could fulfill, but after editing her paper with a group on a flat-screen TV, the effect of technology on her work became clear.
"The professor will tell us to get our writing out there for people to see," Seymour said. "It makes us more aware of our writing."
Gore Hall also has a new iPad cart that can be requested by any professor teaching in the building. The cart's devices include applications like Keynote, Molecules, National Geographic World Atlas and the Wall Street Journal.
Professor and associate director at the Institute for Transforming Undergraduate Education, Mark Serva, said technology helps professors gain immediate feedback from students and creates a more collaborative learning environment.
Serva is curious how professors will apply iPad technology to their lessons.
"How iPads can be used is still kind of an open question," Serva said. "I have one, but I've never used it in the classroom."
Freshman Tyler Sherman said he was impressed with the technology because it allows for stronger participation in group discussions. He said new technology may not be effective in every classroom, however. In Bernhardt's 25-student introductory writing course, it may be easier for the professor to communicate with everyone.
"I'm not sure that this can work in a class of 200," Sherman said.
Bernhardt said the only drawback he has encountered so far, the amount of time needed to prepare and operate the new technology.
He said problematic issues with technology have taken time out of lessons, although some days are better than others.
"It takes a little more time to manage the technology and it's only a 50 minute class," he said.
Paul Hyde, manager of ATS, said he is unsure if new technology will be able to implemented throughout campus. Currently, ATS staff members use Gore 218 to test new technology and determine whether it is effective in classroom use and if it can be applied throughout campus.
"It's like a sandbox," Hyde said. "We are learning from this and seeing what we can apply to other classes and larger classes."
Hyde said he thinks the technology allows students to perform group work in a more dynamic way and to be more engaged during class. He also believes it benefits professors because they can communicate with each student more effectively.
"What we've hoped we've done is lost the front of the classroom," Hyde said. "No student can get lost in the back row."