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Students and Faculty Experience New Teaching/Learning Technology

By Erin Orgeman
UWRF University Communications

OCT. 26, 2007--The University of River Falls has entered a new wave of teaching and learning that has already entered K-12 schools all over the United States. It is part of SMART Technologies, which is a series of software programs that allows student and teachers to interact in a way never thought possible.

The Wyman Education has this program up and running. After receiving a grant in 2006, Educational Technology Center director, Karen Ryan was able to purchase one SMART Board and two Sympodium touch screens.

The SMART Board is an interactive whiteboard that connects to a computer and a digital projector. This is a touch-sensitive application that allows students and teachers to write notes in digital ink and save their work to share later. The Sympodiums are mobile so that the technology to travel to the 12 classrooms in the Wyman Building. They are transferred on a cart and are connected to the projector and computer already in that classroom. Ryan explained that the mobile units are more economical.

Many schools and universities have been using this technology for a few years, she said. UWRF thought that it would be extremely beneficial in their goal to support interactive education.

"Students need to become active participants," said Ryan.   If you remember when you were in elementary school, you remember being asked to do demonstrations and activities that enhanced learning--you don't remember reading textbooks and just answering questions.

This technology is used in all subjects taught, and teachers have noted that is it t very useful in math and science. Students can walk up to the Sympodium touch-screen and dissect a diagram of a frog without ever having to touch a real one, and their cohorts can ellow watch these presentations and lessons, rather than just hearing them. This program has been especially useful in elementary schools because of the hands-on approach that seems to connect the best with children of that age.

Teaching this technology to education majors on the UWRF campus will put them on the same level as schools that use the technology and potentially help boost their résumé when they apply for a job.

"There is a good relationship between UWRF and other potential schools for employment as far as technology goes," explained Ryan. UWRF creates this relationship by learning what technology is being used in area schools, so that professors know how much technology students should learn on campus, she said.


Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:08:36 Central Daylight Time


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