When Scott Powell arrived at the University of Lethbridge in 2002, the Faculty’s classrooms housed desktop computers and perhaps a projector. Students migrated to dedicated computer labs to complete technology-related components of their programs. In 2003 a trial project providing instructors with laptops to carry their files with them met with success, and by 2005 Smartboards were being integrated into classrooms. “Change was driven by the needs of the faculty and students,” notes Powell. More laptops, projectors, digital cameras, audio set-ups and camcorders followed. Today Powell and Kevin Orr maintain a vast inventory of equipment, including iPads, GoPros and 3D printers.
“Over the years we’ve removed the computer lab and gone to laptop carts,” says Orr. “Professors can book a mobile lab and integrate it directly into their classrooms. We consistently update our technology by creating new builds to ensure all the applications are up to date and any new technologies are added.” Web conferencing, which allows visual and auditory contact at great distances, is an increasingly valued tool for practicum supervisors, research collaborators, and others. “Students who can’t make it in to class can sit in on a lecture from anywhere,” says Orr.
As technology steadily evolves the IT specialists continually research, learn and test new devices and applications. They then train instructors and staff to ensure standards of quality within the faculty. Their group sessions and demonstrations are open to anyone, and they provide one-on-one assistance as unique needs arise. “Don’t be afraid to jump in and try,” Powell advises teachers. “If one technology doesn’t work, try another that’s similar. Experiment until you find what’s right for you and then you can recommend it to colleagues.”
“Sharing resources is a big part of helping,” adds Orr, who references the educational materials website teacherspayteachers.com as one example.
For more information contact:
Dean's Office • Faculty of Education
University of Lethbridge
403-332-4550 • TH404