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Technology boosts learning at Austin Peay

October 28, 2003


Forget eraser clapping as an after-school activity. Chalkboards are biting the dust in contemporary learning environments.

Today, more than 100 classrooms at Austin Peay are designated "smart classrooms." What makes them so "smart"? Their equipment: a special podium, a computer for the instructor, a document camera, a whiteboard, a VCR and a projector.
October 28, 2003


Forget eraser clapping as an after-school activity. Chalkboards are biting the dust in contemporary learning environments.

Today, more than 100 classrooms at Austin Peay are designated "smart classrooms." What makes them so "smart"? Their equipment: a special podium, a computer for the instructor, a document camera, a whiteboard, a VCR and a projector.

With "smart" equipment, instructors don't have to scrawl notes on a blackboard; they can display their chosen material on huge projection screens. The screen or a whiteboard can display Web pages, PowerPoint presentations and even old-fashioned lecture notes.

"Some of the classes are set up so instructors can lock student screens to the instructor's screen," says Dr. Alex King, associate professor of physics and chair of the University's Technology Committee. "The instructor says, 'This is what I want you to do.' Then he unlocks their screens to let the students do the assignment or download something. There's a lot of versatility."

Austin Peay's first smart classrooms were set up five years ago, King says. "We're to the point now that every building has them."

In 2002-2003, 19 additional smart classrooms were installed, primarily in buildings such as Marks, McReynolds and the Dunn Center that had few or no smart classrooms.

How important is technology to today's students? Very, according to The Princeton Review. "Students place a high value on having access to technology as part of their college experience. For some it's a quality-of-life issue. For others, it's essential to their areas of study. But by and large, students know that honing their tech skills in college can be crucial to their job searches and careers after college."

King agrees. "Students place a higher value on technology access than most people realize. It's not only valued, it is an absolute necessity for attracting highly qualified students."
—Debbie Denton