2013 Teaching Technology Demo Fest

On Tuesday, April 23rd, the Center for Faculty Innovations in Teaching and Learning (FITL) hosted NYU-Poly's first Teaching Technology Demo Fest. The focus of the Demo Fest was on implementation of teaching technology by faculty and expanding knowledge and purposeful use of the Smart Classrooms at NYU-Poly. The event was attended by faculty and staff representing 15 academic and administrative departments from NYU-Poly and NYU main campus.

During the morning session, guests participated in engaging presentations by NYU-Poly professors Andrew Bates, John Di Bartolo, and Daniel Katz-Braunschweig, three faculty members who began implementing teaching technology after completing FITL’s Laptop Incentive Program.

Following the faculty presentations, representatives from Smarter Systems and SMART Technologies showcased the SMART Technologies education solutions currently available at NYU-Poly, and other new interactive board options.

Professor Andrew Bates kicked off the morning by presenting on his application of Blackboard's Test feature for a final exam in Construction Materials and Methods. By presenting a selection of true/false and multiple choice questions, the exam can be automatically graded by the Learning Management System (LMS), meaning that students receive instant feedback, and the instructor can spend time analyzing the student outcomes rather than grading. Professor Bates also utilizes methods to encourage academic honesty, such as the system presenting each student with a random selection of questions from a larger question pool, and conducting the exam in a computer lab where a proctor can monitor screen activity. Professor Bates emphasized preparation and practice before incorporating a new technology:

“Don’t let a final exam be the first time you use the online testing feature; do a lot of homework assignments, practice building test pools and rolling it out.”

Professor John Di Bartolo gave a rousing interactive presentation demonstrating his use of Peer Instruction using clickers in an undergraduate Mechanics class. The Peer Instruction method of teaching was pioneered by Dr. Eric Mazur, Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard.

To participate in Professor Di Bartolo’s demonstration, audience members each received a clicker response device.  Professor Di Bartolo then presented a conceptual Physics question and asked the audience to respond using their clickers, but did not share the poll’s results with the group. The participants then had 1-2 minutes to discuss the question with their neighbors before answering the same question again. The theory of Peer Instruction holds that the anonymous clicker questions can be used to tease out common misunderstandings among the students. Allowing students to discuss the concepts with one another tends to increase the correct response rate, or sparks an important discussion that addresses potential misconceptions.

Rounding out the faculty presentations, Professor Daniel Katz-Braunschweig demonstrated how he uses the Eno Interactive Board to digitize and store lecture content in his Computer Science courses. Professor Katz-Braunschweig illustrated how instructors can use the Eno Board to annotate over class content, write on up to 5 virtual whiteboards using digital “ink,” and save digital class content as an image or PDF file. These files can later be posted to Blackboard or elsewhere.

FITL Director Yona Jean-Pierre wrapped up the morning segment, highlighting that “these instructors are staying true to their teaching style and using these technologies to enhance teaching and learning in the classroom.”

Following the faculty presentations, the floor was turned over to Smarter Systems and SMART Technologies representatives Lori Cook and Lisa PaganoKuch, who demonstrated the use of the SMART Board 8055i and SMART Podium SP518, Meeting Pro software, and Bridgit, the real-time conferencing and collaboration tool from SMART Technologies. Attendees with iPads were invited to log into the Bridgit meeting session via the mobile app to try it out firsthand. After the demonstration, guests had a hands-on opportunity to try the interactive board and podium out themselves.

Overall, the Teaching Technology Demo Fest provided guests a first-hand look into how some NYU-Poly professors teach with technology, and the pedagogical potential of new technology options.

Currently, NYU-Poly has 11 smart classrooms and spaces equipped with SMART Podiums, with 3 more rooms soon to be available.

Eno Interactive Boards are currently installed in 26 smart classrooms and spaces in Rogers Hall, Jacobs Academic Building and Dibner Building.

All first- and second-year students are assigned ResponseCards (a.k.a. “Clickers”) for in-class interaction.

For more information on training or any of the technologies demonstrated at the Teaching Technology Demo Fest, please visit fitl.poly.edu.