Students and Faculty Go Digital to Get Real
The more we learn about how we learn, the more we learn about how to teach. That’s why the Office of Digital Learning at Sacred Heart University recently hosted the faculty showcase, Teaching Innovations – Experiments from the SHU Classroom.
Twenty-four booths were staffed by faculty and students, each presenting the various and varied ways in which technology is applied in the classroom to solve problems, overcome obstacles, enhance learning and give Sacred Heart students the unique opportunity to address the challenges of 21st-century education with 21st-century tools. Indeed, as event organizer Jaya Kannan of the Office of Digital Learning points out, that the event was organized as effortlessly as it was is indicative of how integral the digital workplace is to the Sacred Heart classroom.
For example, Zach Ryan ’16, research assistant to Professor Enda McGovern, brought the lost and faraway world into the classroom with 3-D printings of fossils, relics, skeletal compositions and architectural solutions—literally the nuts and bolts to repair deteriorating structures.
Meanwhile, Wendy Bjerke, professor of exercise science, and her student, Bianca Tiberi ’15, took the classroom to the town hall to effect city planning and public policy. Using apps such as Google Maps and MapMyRun, along with the Center for Disease Control’s Walkability Audit Tool, they continue to identify and document unsafe walking pathways. They then press townships to address the ‘goat trails’ (so called because of their dangerously narrow and often treacherous nature) for the health, safety and prosperity of their citizens and communities.
Then there’s Professor Jeanine DeFalco, presenting her students with a shifting perspective that sees social media and the connected world as a tool to enhance learning and understanding rather than a distraction getting in the way of it.
More than an opportunity to boast, the event offered students and faculty from all five colleges at Sacred Heart—Education, Business, Arts and Sciences, Health Professions and University College—the opportunity to ‘cross pollenate,’ finding ever more ways in which this digital life we lead, far from keeping us apart, actually puts the whole world right in our hands.
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