I was reading through the December issue of Campus Technology‘s (that you can borrow or read here, by the way) “101 Best Practices” Smart Classroom section yesterday. Actually, I couldn’t get past the first 25 great ideas, but I was focused on a podium redesign project at Oakland University (MI) (you can see a picture of the workstation at #9). They call their podiums “presentation workstations,” which I think is a much better term than one that implies lectures and speeches.
The heart of the new workstation is a Hitachi T-17SXL StarBoard LCD pen-driven panel that, in addition to the typical projecting of websites, allows the instructor to write on any screen. How is that different from a SmartBoard on the wall? Well, our projection screens are much larger, and the instructor can face the class when writing on a screen.
Smart makes a similar board called a Sympodium, which Georgia Perimeter College is using in its classroom redesign. Such boards are much more versatile than the typical computer monitor, and both boards can capture your handwritten notes.
I’m even more impressed, though, with the look of Oakland’s new workstation, especially since we will be considering new designs this summer, with faculty input. Larger desktops, lower workstations or adjustable monitor positioning, better-secured cables, better IT access to cables and settings, better equipment security–what am I leaving out? What would the best presentation workstation look like to you? No ideas? Google “classroom podium” and then look at the “images” page. I like this one, for example.