These are exciting times for Chadron State College with various advancements in educational technologies available to use in the classroom, both face-to-face and online. CSC instructors are developing courses that provide a variety of ways for students to interact with each other, with their instructors, and with the content of courses. Teaching and learning can be enhanced with technologies such as the web conferencing system of the Sakai Meetings Tool, a GoPro camera for facilitating a flipped classroom approach, and interactive large format touchscreens on campus.
This is the first in a series of articles that will share educational technologies or teaching and learning strategies that are working well (and in some cases, not so well) for CSC instructors in the classroom or online courses. Whether you are a senior faculty member or a new one, the TLC invites you to share your experiences with your colleagues. Please contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org, with a story to share regarding what works well (or not so well) in your teaching and learning efforts.
What Works Well? Phil Cary Shares his Experience Using Touchscreens in his Classroom
I recently asked Phil Cary to share his perspective on using the new large interactive touchscreens for teaching his math classes. Following are his responses regarding how these technologies are transforming his classroom teaching as well as how they may be useful for teaching and learning in other disciplines.
How are you using this technology to enhance your teaching?
I prepare digital notes ahead of class, using a digital tablet (the Sympodium from Smart products). Then during class discussion, I show the prepared notes on the touch screen, but also write on the touch surface to record additions and modifications to the notes during discussion. After class, I convert the completed notes reflecting class discussion into pdf files that I then post for the students (both on and off campus). I can also use a web-based graphing calculator (Desmos) that is so useful in discussing concepts with students in my class. I can annotate the graphs we produce and capture the graphs into my notes for the day.
Are you using the screen with or without the computer?
I am currently using the screen with the desktop PC in the classroom, which is running the Smart Notebook software.
Do you use the whiteboard technology and save files for each class session?
Yes, every class period, as described above. I can work additional math problems and answer questions by writing on the touch screen.
Do you see other departments using this technology?
Absolutely! The ability to create notes, as well as write directly on web pages and other documents, then save the modifications digitally, would be very useful in all classes.
Have you run into any problems?
So far, I am very pleased with the touch screen as a useful classroom tool. Just this morning a student told me that he could see the touch screen better and more clearly than the previously used projected image from the projector located in the ceiling. The only issue (that is a temporary one) is that it takes a while to get used to the sensitivity of the touch screen, so it is not quite as simple as writing on a whiteboard. However, I am confident this issue can be overcome with practice and experience.
Do you have any plans for using this technology differently from how you are currently using it?
Yes, one of my top priorities is to learn how to use the screen with a webcam to conference with others using Vidyo. Since many of our math students (in the math major) are located at a distance from campus, this could be very useful in communicating with groups or individuals off campus.