Magazine article University Business

The Urge to Converge

Magazine article University Business

The Urge to Converge

Article excerpt

OVER THE PAST 10 YEARS OR SO, MOST COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY campuses have been witnessing the expansion of presentation system and other media technology in lecture hafts and classrooms, and like the advent of most technology, it has come as a "gee whiz, that's neat" experience first, a "this can realty improve teaching and learning" experience later. Also like the advent of most technology, the new tools are a stone in the pond of the world in which they exist--in our case, postsecondary education. The ripples they produce are widening daily, and impacting all levels of college teaching and learning. Those ripples are even touching and transforming life on campus and the whole spirit of educating. They are, in fact, dramatically changing the face of higher education--maybe for the first time in hundreds of years.

That is because students in their classrooms and on their campuses (not to mention those remotely located) are now consistently learning in a way they have not before: through the combination of sound, image, information delivery, and information sharing. Learning has become the kind of ongoing conversation of sight, sound, and concept that educators could only have dreamed about, even decades before. Where an educator may have hoped to reach a student on some level, he now has the ability to reach a student on so many levels--at least one of which must surely resonate; and art of which are enhanced by the others.

Students in all disciplines can now see images projected, and hear the sounds of actual occurrences, as educators share information. They can interact with their instructors and with each other via computer, PDA, and tablet in the classroom, lecture halt, and from anywhere on campus or across the world. The inner workings of a cell, previously a world for a single pair of eyes to scrutinize, are now visible--via imaging camera and projection--to a roomful of students who can pinpoint and discuss the same image simultaneously. On screen and whiz-bang whiteboard, a single enactment of a crime scene can be jointly witnessed, dissected, and analyzed by a lecture hall of would-be attorneys. Through video-conferencing and projection, the critique of a master musician is immediately accessible by a stage of student violinists. …

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