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Growing Technology in the Classroom

We raise the quality of our students' learning when faculty members take advantage of technology in the classroom. Students regularly report on Heritage evaluations that they appreciate the use of images some professors adopt and they encourage others to integrate more visuals in their lectures.For decades pedagogy experts have suggested that technology, with its emphasis on concrete sight imagery, helps reach the visual learners identified in the long touted theory that students have different learning styles. Some new research is putting in question the idea of different learning styles, but if it is dropping the idea that people are different in how they learn, it is not dropping the idea that people need different stimuli in order to learn.A New York Times article citing studies by Robert Bjork in the journal of Psychological Science in the Public Interest and Doug Rorhrer and Kelli Taylor in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology implies the link between employing classroom visuals -- a way of engaging more neural areas -- and enhanced learning. By stimulating a range of sensations and associations the impression on the brain of ideas being discussed deepens.

"The brain makes subtle associations between what it is studying and the background sensations it has at the time, the authors say, regardless of whether those perceptions are conscious. It colors the terms of the Versailles Treaty with the wasted fluorescent glow of the dorm study room, say; or the elements of the Marshall Plan with the jade-curtain shade of the willow tree in the backyard. Forcing the brain to make multiple associations with the same material may, in effect, give that information more neural scaffolding. …Varying the type of material studied in a single sitting -- alternating, for example, among vocabulary, reading and speaking in a new language-- seems to leave a deeper impression on the brain than does concentrating on just one skill at a time" (Carey, Benedict. "Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits." New York Times, Sept. 6, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/07/health/views/07mind.html.). In order to meet the demand of professors requesting "hot rooms" and to improve the learning of our students, the College needs to increase the number of its technologically equipped classrooms.

Contact person: Kristen Golden

For a PDF of the proposal, click here.

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