By Carlo Valladares
Thirty-five classrooms will be reconfigured as “smart classrooms” on campus, according to George Baroudi, LIU’s Chief Information Officer. Currently, The J.M. Ladge Speech and Hearing Center contains a “Learning Center,” a classroom that contains a projector that enables an enhanced learning experience, in room 125, which was installed last semester.
“[The school is] engaged in an initiative to keep LIU Post at the forefront of instructional technology by installing ‘smart projectors.’ These projectors interpret hand gestures through an advanced sensor near the lens that allows a user to manipulate images on the screen; in essence turning the projected area into a smart board display,” Baroudi said. “Additional enhancements include new furniture, as well as wireless access points for each classroom.”
This new technology differs from a smart board in that a smart board is an interactive white board, one that has become a staple in modern classrooms. A smart classroom will host numerous instructional technologies and online components.
“At LIU, we are introducing our own version of smart classrooms called ‘Learning Spaces’, which are designed to maximize the classroom experience by enhancing content delivery and fostering collaborative experiences,” Baroudi added. “Our Learning Spaces will consist of touch-enabled Epson Ultra projectors that connect via wired or wireless connections to any mobile or desktop device.” The new system includes a “smart source selector” with audio capabilities for the entire room. Powering all of this is a world-class datacenter that is monitored by LIU’s IT team.
This initiative was brought to life after student and faculty feedback indicated that a revitalization of Post’s classrooms was well overdue. “The classrooms feel dated,” said Kaitlin Veygel, a junior Broadcasting major. “I feel like [the smart classrooms] take teaching to a new level.”
“We are focusing on the most requested and most needed areas, so the priority is for the most heavily used classrooms. However, the goal is to upgrade every classroom over the next few years,” Baroudi said.
Kim Mullins, an Assistant Professor and Instructional Design Librarian, feels the new classroom gadgets will be helpful if used correctly. “I embrace the use of educational technology, and am excited to have the ability to incorporate it in my teaching.
As a librarian who teaches research skills, a smart classroom allows me to model effective database searching and information access while students closely follow along on their computers,” Mullins said. “The use of an interactive white board enhances student learning because I can zoom and highlight important information, and annotate the screen with class notes and comments.”
The Learning Spaces are planned for Humanities, Pell Hall, Lorber Hall, the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library, and several other locations, according to Baroudi. Staff and faculty are expected to participate in training sessions before the smart classrooms are expected to be fully operational. The project is expected to be finished in three academic years.