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More professors use Android, iPad tools

Tori Roeck | Friday, September 2, 2011

This semester, more Notre Dame classes will benefit from using the DeBartolo Hall technology room and the University-provided iPads and Android tablets.

“We’re trying to give the faculty members and the students in the class more options,” Brian Burchett, manager of the Technology Enhanced Learning Spaces, said. “Effective learning often takes place when multiple modes of instruction are used.”

Classes using the iPad range from an information design course to a Shakespeare survey, and the Android tablets are being used in a project management course.

In associate professor Jesse Lander’s Shakespeare course, students will try a Shakespeare iPad app for the first time. English professor Elliott Visconsi is currently developing the app, Lander said.

The app will include the text of “The Tempest” with links to other sources throughout the work that will help clarify the reading. It will also include audio from a performance of the play, note-taking functions and social media communication, Lander said.

“This sort of technology will facilitate engagement with the text itself,” he said.

Beginning Italian, business ethics, a political science graduate seminar and intermediate Ancient Greek will also experience a technology upgrade in the DeBartolo Hall technology room.

In its third semester of use, the DeBartolo technology room has multiple TV monitors located on the walls and in the center of the room. Small groups can use each as a personal computer, Burchett said, and the walls are painted with white board paint.

Burchett said this set-up allows students to be more active in their learning.

“Students master the material best when they engage in activities that help them construct the knowledge on their own instead of simply being a receptacle,” he said.

Assistant Teaching Professor Tadeusz Mazurek, who teaches intermediate Greek in the technology room, said the space’s most desirable feature is the multiple monitors that wirelessly connect to personal computers.

“The ability to have the students pursue individual research projects at their own computer monitor and then report that back to the whole class effectively is the best feature,” he said.

Mazurek said the technology available in his class will make ancient texts more accessible to his students.

“My goal is to try to have small groups working on different mini research projects during class to better understand the texts we’re reading and to use searchable databases, to use online lexica and to use other websites online to learn the material better,” he said.

Technology in the classroom will not only facilitate learning, but also allow students to directly contribute to digitizing historical texts.

Mazurek said the class will also use the room to take part in Oxyrhynchus Papyri, an online effort to digitize ancient papyrus fragments discovered in Egypt.

“Students can have a direct impact into the constant ongoing project of digitizing the ancient literature,” he said.