Alabama A&M University’s Information Technology Services (ITS) has embarked on yet another innovative way to boost collaborative learning among student scholars.
Two “smart rooms” set up in the Learning Resources Center offer eager students an opportunity to collaborate on projects through digital interactivity. As part of a demonstration by ITS’ tech guru Connie Mack, four students used a hub to plug in their laptops and were able to share a large, common screen, as well as possibilities as infinite as their minds.
Thus, in less than a minute, a single project can expand exponentially, thanks to students’ ability to submit their individual contributions for immediate viewing and feedback from their fellow students.
The smart room concept is used at higher learning institutions in various forms around the country. For instance, Carnegie Mellon University’s setup includes cameras, microphones, projectors, speakers and electronic pens mounted on the walls and ceiling. Team members log in by presenting wearable radio-frequency identification tags to an electronic control panel. Members also wear sensors that identify them and track their locations as meetings get underway.
Mack was aided in her AAMU demonstration by Dr. Leatha Bennett, director of the Office of Retention and Academic Support (ORAS); Linda Skeete McClellan of ORAS’ Tutorial Assistance Network (TAN); and TAN student tutors. Greg Marrow serves as AAMU’s Chief Information Officer.
by Jerome Saintjones