TED Conversations

Amy Peach

Director of Instructional Technology, Fontbonne University, St Louis, MO USA


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If you had a technology toy room to play with the most amazing educational technologies available today, what would be in it?

I've been given the remarkable privilege of starting a Center for Educational and Emerging Technology where university faculty and K-12 educators can come together to explore classroom technologies.

It will be a space where everyone can get their hands on the technology and discuss in a very diverse group the potential it has for meaningful change in the classroom. The budget is limited to start off, so what tools have you seen that have the potential for disruption in either higher ed or K-12 classrooms? If it's expensive, what groups do you think would likely fund their purchase for a center like this?


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  • Sep 27 2013: Ah, a realistic question. It would be prudent to have some very old technologies present--the chalkboard and the dry-erase whiteboard. It is amazing just how much can still be done with such means. They are still valued in the university, at the highest levels of education and research. I'm no Luddite, of course. I helped set up and maintain a SmartBoard for my employer, but there is still a place for the old stuff. For example, nothing beats real fossils, no electronic on-screen simulation matches what is learned from direct observation of a sample.
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      Sep 27 2013: A great point, Bryan! I should elaborate on my initial description. The Tech resource room will only contain potentially disruptive technologies. However, this room is intended to be just one component of a much larger center, which will have interactive screens, mobile charging stations, sound-proof rooms for screencasting AND a plain old whiteboard. As much as I love my technology, there are times when my ideas can only be fashioned through writing them out with different colored markers :) I would want a similar space for students. I would also like the space just outside of the center to be a device-free park. It is in a very secluded spot on campus with lots of trees and since part of the lesson is knowing when to use the technology and when to just turn it off, this would work.

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