HP Innovations in Education Project
The technology vision at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) emphasizes on importance of providing students equitable access and actively involving them in the learning process to increase achievement and ultimately greater success beyond the domain of a classroom. One of the major initiatives taken by the school leadership related to technology enhancement was the construction of the Information Technology Center (ITC) and making the entire campus Wi-Fi enabled.
The 2009 HP Innovations in Education grant has helped project team to develop strategies to fulfill ECSUâ€™s technology vision by availability of high-performance HP Blade computing infrastructure, versatile Tablet-PCs, and other supporting instructional tools. Students involved in service-learning projects and other course projects used HP Tablet-PCs as journals to keep log of their daily activities, create computer-aided designs, prepare report, gather visual or text data, and develop web pages to reflect on their project experience. Classroom Management Software such as NetSupport School was used to encourage interaction through collaborative note-taking, student response tools, content replay, and anywhere, anytime access. Instructors was able to instantly transmit content to student computers for personalized annotation and use instant polling or response tools to facilitate formative assessments.
In second year of the project, the centralized HP Blade workstations will provide secure, real-time, interactive access to 2D/3D graphic applications and multimedia-rich content required for computation intensive courses such as Technical Graphics, Computer Aided Design & Solid Modeling, Automation & Robotics, and Control Systems â€“ from a remote location. Availability of centralized computing power with real-time interactive remote access via HP Remote Graphics Software (RGS) will fit well in a shared environment where geographically dispersed students can collaborate on projects and share content rich visualizations in real-time with instructor and students to critique.
The HP Blade system infrastructure will enable faculty and students to quickly and seamlessly access Computer Aided Design (CAD) programs such as Pro-E, AutoCAD, Inventor, and SolidWorks. Through collaboration mode of RGS, instructor and students will not be able to examine student projects with an industry expert at another physical location. Even remote access to electronic circuit simulation and design tools such as MULTISIM, ULTIBOARD, and LABVIEW; Network Simulator such as Packet Tracer 5.0; and various compilers will enhance the ability of students to complete laboratory assignments at their own pace. With the availability of CAD applications, simulation tools and other software resources through secure high-performance HP blade workstations, remote students will be able to access computation intensive resources without proprietary data being transferred from the blade workstation. Using Camtasia Relay, live lectures will be recorded and relayed to a HP Blade workstation/server where students, especially who are ill/disable or unable to come to school can have access to them.
The Innovations in Education project initiated through support from HP is one of the major initiatives to create a learning environment that is conducive for our students, especially underrepresented groups at ECSU. Starting fall 2009, a classroom in the Department of Technology was dedicated for use as a mobile technology classroom. This classroom with capacity to seat over 30 students was renovated and equipped with necessary audio-visual facility, sympodium (SMART Podium with interactive pen display), ceiling multimedia projector and furnishing with the ability to switch from lecture-style seating, to small discussion/collaborative groups. This classroom will be shared by other faculty members within the School of Math, Science, & Technology who wish to experiment with use of mobile technology in their courses.