Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ball State University Libraries' Educational Resources Center Provides Educational Materials in Variety of Formats for Research, Learning

The Educational Resources Center has material in dozens of formats, such as microscope slides, globes, kits, educational toys, and more to support learning, research, and classroom instruction. Ranging from abaci to zygotes, the collections allow faculty to enhance classroom presentations and facilitate students’ personal study by engaging a variety of senses in the learning process.

Models are available to demonstrate difficult geologic concepts, such as syncline and isostasy. Study of Native American ceremonial rites can be enhanced by using kits that contain dancing bells, colored sand, drums, and accompanying guides. The Battle for Middle Earth may be waged again and again with The Lord of the Rings computer simulation program.

“We see study groups, for example, nursing classes viewing anatomy models and drawing classes working with realia. We also see many students engaged in independent study with the materials,” said Julie Nelson, ERC Information/Circulation Supervisor.

The ERC’s realia collection is a gem. It contains thousands of objects to supplement study, such as a working depth gauge, bust of Queen Nefertiti, Bolivian chajcha, African talking drum, a Black Widow spider, and more.

In the College of Architecture and Planning’s CAP 161 class, Design Communications Media 1, students have an assignment where they create contour drawings of still lifes that they have created.

“The assignment includes setting up a still life. I got tired of seeing lots of rolls of masking tape, cell phones, and things from the studio,” said Cynthia A. McHone, Instructor. “I found out about the collections in Educational Resources and now some of the students get really motivated — they often create a theme using a mix of materials. This is a wonderful resource, and the staff are nice, too.”

Students frequently use materials from the ERC’s collections as visual or tactile aids for classroom presentations. Others take them beyond the campus to classrooms around the state as they engage in student teaching.

To view the array of available items, choose the “Advanced Search” function of CardCat and make your selection from the “Format” drop-down box.

For additional information, contact Diane E. Hill, Ball State University’s Media Librarian,, (765) 285-5333.

This newsletter article first appeared in The Library Insider 5(3): 5; March 2007. Sketch by Lauren Comes, student in the College of Architecture and Planning’s CAP 161 course.

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