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New suites encourage student collaboration,
use of technology in presentations
Dec. 9, 2010
Are you a student in need of a place to practice a group presentation? Do you need to use technology such as PowerPoint, Photoshop, video editing software or DVD recording equipment for an upcoming class project?
The new Collaborative Technology Suites at the Knight and Flanagan campuses give students a space to create and practice group presentations while familiarizing themselves with all the technology they need to enhance their projects.
“They can use the room, they can have their group discussions and we can also give them the opportunity to use the technology in that room,” said Richard Brito, lead information technologist for the CCRI Information Technology Department.
“The technology in the suites is very similar to the technology in the classrooms,” Brito said, “so when students do their presentation, they will already know how to use the equipment.”
Brito said that, unlike in the quieter spaces of a computer lab or library, students in the Collaborative Technology Suites can actively engage in conversations, stand up, move around and interact with the technology all while producing a high-level graphical representation of their group projects.
Students can schedule the suites for up to two hours at a time. A short tutorial may be required depending on what equipment they wish to use.
“We like to show the students how to use the equipment so that when they’re ready to use it in the classroom, they have an idea of what they’re doing,” Brito said.
He said some of the technology found in the suites can help students make their presentations more dynamic.
For example, the sympodium is an interactive display panel that allows students to “write” on documents while projecting them, similar to when sports commentators write or draw on the screen during televised football games. Many other options by the makers of this technology are available, including an animation gallery and camera capture feature.
Another piece of technology called a document camera allows students to project pages from a book, photographs, artwork, or small 3D objects - such as computer motherboards for a computer studies class or a set of bones for a nursing class - onto a large screen so that the whole classroom can get a close-up view.
“The students can practice using this equipment so they can really jazz up their presentations,” Brito said.
Some of the technologies available for use in the suites include PC and Mac computers and laptops with MS Office 2007, DVD/VCR recorders, a document camera/visual presenter, the sympodium interactive writing display, a projection system with a whiteboard surface for interactivity, Flip video camera, a flatbed scanner, MS Moviemaker, Adobe Photoshop Suite (Dreamweaver, Illustrator, Fireworks, Flash, InDesign), Audacity and Jing. Additional iMacs and editing software are scheduled to arrive in 2011.
The Collaborative Technology Suites can be found in Room 6530 at the Knight Campus and Room 2602 at the Flanagan Campus. To reserve time in one of the rooms, contact the IT Department at 455-6111. Group size is limited to six students.
Linda Richard, director of academic technology in the Information Technology Department, said she plans to provide similar rooms at the Liston and Newport campuses in the near future.
Richard first presented the concept of creating the technology suites two years ago to create a space that would meet the needs of students looking for a place to work on group projects. The funds to accomplish this goal were provided by the Rhode Island Division of Technology.