It is no secret that a digital classroom can have an extremely beneficial effect on student learning. SMARTboards, iPads, and laptops are just a few of the many tools that are being increasingly incorporated into classrooms at C.W. Post. Technology-equipped classrooms allow both students and teachers to have access to a wide variety of resources to foster learning and to promote professional development. While many professors are making the transition from a traditional classroom to a progressive one, others continue to teach from the assigned course textbook.
Because technology is changing at such a rapid rate, it can discourage teachers, especially those who have been teaching for many years, from wanting to learn about what is new in the technological world. However, the campus offers a vast amount of learning opportunities for professors to promote the learning of technology and to help make the transition from chalkboards to SMARTboards.
C.W. Post Director of Information Technology Nancy Marksbury discussed the services that are provided to campus faculty to provide technology support. “Professors are provided with laptops to bring to class…An annual survey is given that allows faculty to request a replacement laptop, but [they] are typically replaced after three years unless there is damage beyond repair. Through IT [Information Technology], we have a faculty and staff lab, and it’s through the folks in that lab, who provide workshops for faculty to learn and try out software and they can use specialized software that is more expensive. There is also the IT Faculty Center, where faculty can go to get one-on-one assistance if they are trying to achieve something in blackboard. Additionally, there’s the Academic Multimedia Support Services (AMSS). The AMSS are not only providing when a faculty member requests a projector, they also have started working with faculty who want to record narrated Power Points.“
Marksbury affirmed that: “There are a number of locations where faculty can get support.” The C.W Post AMSS website states, “The office is comprised of a team of full and part-time staff and student workers that not only provides “traditional” audiovisual services and support (including the maintenance and repair of audiovisual classroom equipment and “smart” classrooms), but also works with the faculty to design interactive multimedia content that meets their educational objectives and supports blended and online instructional technologies and course content. Currently the department maintains over 60 “Enhanced Classrooms” across the campus.”
C.W. Post has been making strides in the technology field. Last year, C.W. Post became one of the first universities to distribute free iPads to all incoming freshman and transfer students. Also, on November 11th, the campus hosted Long Island’s first ever PadCamp. PadCamp is a free “unconference,” which means that the participants are the speakers, and they focus their conversations on incorporating tablets and other handheld devices in the classroom. The conference was a huge success and had about 150 participants, including teachers, administrators, and students.
Childhood Education major Janet Dillon voiced her opinion on professors using technology in the class. She said, “I think some teachers are using it, but not all. Some teachers feel uncomfortable using technology because they are set in their ways. Many still teach out of the book and use overhead projectors. They have to begin to adapt to technology. They depend too much on Power Point to teach rather than making it an interactive, student to teacher relationship.”
Whether the reason for professors resisting to use technology is because of fear for not being able to use it properly or is simply because they are at the end of their careers and do not feel a need to advance, we cannot crucify them for not making the transition. However, it is evident that the role of technology in our classrooms will only grow and continue to foster learning.