Room in Music and Speech Building is new home to cutting-edge classroom equipment

Rachel Abbey

During The College of Communication and Information presentation yesterday, Peter Riley, vice president of operations at Mediatech, showcases different operations of the “intelligent” classroom. The classroom boasts an interactive white board, a wire

Credit: Jason Hall

Flimsy transparencies, smudgy markers and chalk dust are a thing of the past for one classroom in the Music and Speech Building. University administration and The College of Communication and Information presented a newly designed “intelligent” classroom yesterday, a result of a partnership with Dell Inc.

“I’m so psyched about it,” said Molly Taggart, communications studies graduate student. Taggart teaches Intro to Human Communication and used the new room Tuesday night.

Room D301 features a wide range of technology from an interactive white board to a student polling program, said Peter Riley, vice president of operations at Mediatech, a Dell partner. Usually, only one high-tech feature is found in each room.

“It’s one of the most powerful (rooms) that I’ve had the pleasure of working with, outside of military simulation,” he said.

It includes a document camera, which functions like a projector, putting images on the screen in front of the room. The difference between this and traditional projectors is the document camera can show transparencies, paper documents and live images, Riley said.

The room also boasts an interactive white board, which allows instructors to “write” on the screen in front of the room. Instructors can project documents or Web site pages on the screen and use the touch screen feature to mark the display.

Riley demonstrated this, touching the highlight feature on the side of the screen and running his hand across a line of text. The text immediately highlighted and was saved. The instructor could also use this feature with a wireless tablet.

While a video or DVD plays on the screen, the interactive board can show another display, Riley said.

This dual system of a screen and a board will be very helpful to instructors, Taggart said. She plans to display videos from speeches on the screen, and, at the same time, post information students should be keeping in mind while they watch.

The room also includes a variety of video, audio and lighting options, Riley said. Four Dell computers can be used in the classroom for group or individual work.

Discussion of the project began about six months ago, said John Mullen, vice president for higher education for Dell Inc.

“The idea here is to show it’s possible,” Mullen said.

President Carol Cartwright said this classroom is a model for how technology can enhance the learning process. It incorporates two of the university’s main goals by engaging the campus with world outside and of improving education.

After the university sees how faculty and students adapt to the technology, Mullen said, they would be interested in working together more. He said he has had great success at other schools.

Contact administration reporter Rachel Abbey at [email protected].