Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bracken Library Hosts Successful Technology Showcase "Tech4U"

Bracken Library was privileged to host Tech4U, an information technology showcase of emerging media and other technologies that included Microsoft Surface,™ a robot, and Nintendo® Wii™ on October 23, 2008.

The event was sponsored by the Vice President’s Office for Information Technology, which includes Teleplex Services, University Computing Services, and the University Libraries.

Bracken Library was selected as the site for the Tech4U fair for many reasons, including the University Libraries’ rich dynamic research resources and cutting-edge technologies. The Libraries provide an environment conducive to student creativity, learning, and collaboration. Other factors included the Libraries’ focus on engaging students, committed professional and paraprofessional personnel, and Bracken Library’s centralized location on campus.

Dr. Arthur W. Hafner, Dean of University Libraries, said, “Bracken Library was a perfect setting for the technology showcase. It is the place on campus where large numbers of students and faculty interact with digital content, where they can explore emerging technologies and media formats. Examples include video editing and animation using intensive media computing, exploring educational simulations and gaming, Second Life, and utilizing a variety of Web 2.0 social networking utilities.”

More than 30 members of the University Libraries’ professional and paraprofessional personnel contributed to the success of the event by participating in planning, arranging the physical space, presenting sessions to demonstrate curriculum solutions, and other activities to increase student achievement.

Highlights of the showcase included the Microsoft Surface™ display that looks like an electronic coffee table and that offers new and interesting ways to interact with data. It was just one of 60 information booths showcasing technologies and interactive demonstrations during the day-long fair. During the Tech4U fair, 35 technology leaders and nationally recognized faculty from Ball State University presented seminars to show and discuss how interactive technologies affect and impact how people communicate, teach, learn, create and collaborate.

Philip C. Repp, Ball State’s Interim Vice President for Information Technology, stated, “I was impressed with the number of people and with the energy, excitement, and many positive comments generated by all of the exhibits and presentations.”

Mr. Repp added that the university has the reputation, faculty expertise, technical support, and industry partnerships that allow for the effective integration of technology and emerging media in higher education.

In addition to 22 commercial vendors, there were 28 tables consisting of four specific hubs located on the library’s first floor, most of which shared emerging technologies with educational applications.

The four hub areas included “The Digital Classroom,” “Digital Media/Art,” “Emerging Communications for Students,” and “Games and Development.”

The main presentations included:
- Justin Beck and Dan Peters, Blackboard Senior Solutions Engineers, “Blackboard Solutions in the Digital Classroom”
- Larry Johnson, CEO of New Media Consortium, “The Horizon Metatrends: What We’ve Learned from Five Years on the Horizon Project”
- Matt Hitts, Live@edu Specialist, “Emerging Communications for Students”
- Jonathan B. Huer along with other Ball State Digital Product Corps members, “Games and Development”

A sampling of the day’s mini-sessions included:
- An “Emerging Communications” series with a variety of information booths, such as the Google Apps where Ball State students learned about the launching of a service where they can merge their Ball State e-mail address with a Google Apps account
- Ball State Virtual Campus and Second Life Initiatives
- Digital Classroom Technology
- Digital Media/Art presentations
- Interactive and sensory exhibits customized for the Muncie Children’s Museum and a variety of projects and 3D demonstrations
- Technology Tips with the Libraries’ Technology Training Support Specialists
- University Libraries’ Emerging Media Initiatives, such as the Cardinal Scholar Institutional Repository, the Digital Media Repository, and Geographic Information Systems.

John B. Straw, University Libraries’ Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections, said, “We appreciate the demonstrations that were presented by so many personnel from the University Libraries to help make Tech4U a success and Bracken Library a great venue for presenting emerging technologies and media.”

Bracken’s turnstiles recorded 5,281 people between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. during the Tech4U fair. The count was 692 over the daily average for the same time period on Tuesday and Wednesday.

To view a Tech4U Photo Galleria slide show, visit www.bsu.edu/library/tech4uphotos.


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