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Above, Dr. Gerol Petruzella ’01, assistant director of academic technology, demonstrates how to use the short-throw projector. Below, assistant professor of English Dr. Jenna Sciuto has access to new technology in her Bowman Hall classroom.

New Technology = Innovative Learning in Bowman

11/23/15

Thanks to new technology, the walls in Bowman Hall can transform into touch-screen computer monitors through the use of innovative, short-throw projectors. The opportunities are endless, as faculty enjoy a myriad of teaching options and students access exciting new ways to learn.

Dr. Ben Taylor, assistant professor of political science, said the new technology goes well beyond writing on the board.

“It allows you to use a PowerPoint and draw on the board like you might have historically, but in ways that are richer and more interesting because you have more visuals,” he explained.

“I can show students a graph and, using my finger, I can draw on it. I can make notes on the graph, draw arrows, and make changes to the graph if I want to, to show what might happen if we ask a question differently,” Taylor said. “It just makes the whole practice interactive.”

“Previously, professors would put together slide presentations and lecture while we took notes,” said Zachary Feury ’16, a double major in history and political science from Shelburne Falls, Mass.

“With the new technology in Bowman, the lecture experience has become more interactive, allowing professors to annotate their presentations in response to students’ questions,” he explained. “The technology enhances the learning experience by providing the professor with the capability to respond to questions in a more fluid, flexible manner.”

Furthermore, the use of interactive whiteboards increases the speed with which professors may access online – and even offline – information. This allows them to discuss more content in the relatively short time they have their students’ attention.

“When coupled together, the two forms of technology serve to expedite the delivery of content and allow for increased student participation in the lecture, which positively impacts the learning experience by creating a more engaging atmosphere in the classroom,” Feury said.

Dr. Jenna Sciuto, assistant professor of English, agreed that the new technology adds much to the classroom experience.

In her literature classes, “I frequently put passages from the text we are reading on the board and ask students to close read the material collectively,” she explained. “The new technology works well here because I can mark up the slide with the students’ ideas and analysis as we discuss, keeping a record of what was said as we go.

“I also can e-mail the slide to the students later, for them to keep as an example as they do their own close reading work, which is something that was not possible in the old classrooms,” Sciuto said. 

In her writing classes – which she runs like workshops – Sciuto may discuss how to compose an effective introduction.

“I will give them some guidance on how to do that, and then we will evaluate examples of introductions from their class, collectively. Like the textual analysis exercise in my literature classes, I can then email a screenshot of the marked up essays to the class for them to use as examples,” Sciuto said.

“The renovation is absolutely incredible,” said history major Alexandra Kadell ’16 of Franklin Square, Long Island, N.Y.

“The combination of the projector screens, smart board technology and the white board walls enhances class time,” Kadell said. “No matter what major, the professors are using the new technology to engage their students inside the classroom.”

To watch a short video and see this technology in action, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etZlWLz0XA0.

In addition to the technology that enhances teaching, Bowman Hall is a LEED-certified building. Its renovations also include heat- and cooling-efficient devices, new windows, and digital controls that will provide savings in operational costs.