Is the age of blackboards and chalk over? Probably not, considering blackboards have been a central feature in classrooms for the past two hundred years. First introduced into the US educational system in 1801, blackboards remain ubiquitous in the 21st Century instructional environment despite the continual evolution of instructional needs and requirements.
Is there a better solution? Wooster’s newest learning community is trying to find out. Funded with a grant from the Ohio Learning Network a group of faculty, staff and students will specifically assess the implementation of tablet-style device called ‘SMART Sympodium” into classrooms. The grant calls for the creation of a ‘Learning Community,’ entitled “Assessing the Effective Use of Technology in a Liberal Arts Curriculum.” Learning communities are unique, collaborative bodies whose focus is on generating a strong knowledge base while fostering innovation, experimentation, and assessment.
Throughout the year, The College of Wooster’s Learning Community will focus on two particular courses implementing Sympodia into their curricula, Dr. John Lindner’s Astronomy of the Solar System and Dr. Michelle Solensky’s Biology 101: Foundations in Biology. This focus on assessment will pay particular attention to the effects of Sympodia on student learning, engagement, and ability to conduct critical analysis, as well as any necessary changes in pedagogy from instructors. With the knowledge gained from this year’s experience, the community hopes to be able to provide substantive recommendations and information regarding the effectiveness of implementing new technologies into the classroom to the greater College community.
The Learning Community consists of a core and associate membership.
* Jon Breitenbucher, Mathematics and Computer Science and Instructional Technology, Principal Investigator
* Simon Gray, Mathematics and Computer Science, Convener
* Matt Gardzina, Instructional Technology
* Joe Benfield, Instructional Technology
* Sharon Lynn, Biology
* Donna Jacobs, Timken Science Library
* Matthew Broda, Education
* Theresa Ford, Educational Assessment
* John Lindner, Physics
* Michelle Solensky, Biology
* Susan Lehman, Physics
* William Macauley, Writing Center, English
* Mark Christel, Libraries
* Denise Byrnes, Mathematics and Computer Science
* Albert Borroni, Director of the Oberlin Center for Technologically Enhanced Teaching, Oberlin College
* Minyu Zhou, Librarian and Technology Consultant, Kenyon College
* Trent Edmunds, Instructional Technologist, Denison University
* Jason Lamar, Director of Information Services, Ohio Wesleyan University
* Lynne McCreight ,Chair of the trustee Audit Committee, The College of Wooster
* Mary Schantz, Director, User Services, The College of Wooster
* Vincent DiScipio, Director, Digital Infrastructure, The College of Wooster
* Robert Harrison, Wilson Class of 2010, The College of Wooster
* Cathy Trainor, Class of 2011, The College of Wooster
To learn more about the “Assessing the Effective Use of Technology in a Liberal Arts Curriculum” Learning Community, contact Instructional Technology by calling x4722 or visiting the Taylor 205 Computer Lab.