CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Oct. 11, 1999
UI to host demonstration in new wireless classroom
IOWA CITY, Iowa The media are invited to a
hands-on demonstration in the University of Iowa's newest technologically-equipped
classroom Friday, Oct. 15 at 3 p.m. in Room 108 in the English-Philosophy
Building. The new classroom, an Experimental Learning Facility, is outfitted
with 24 notebook computers that are capable of wireless network and Internet
Among those attending the demonstration will be UI President
Mary Sue Coleman; UI Student Government President Lana Zak; Provost Jon Whitmore;
John Folkins, associate provost for undergraduate education; David Skorton,
vice president for research; Doug True, vice president for finance and university
services; Linda Maxson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts; and Diane Davis,
an assistant professor of rhetoric who teaches in the classroom this semester.
The Experimental Learning Facility was developed in
partnership with Gateway, Inc. Ralph Oxley, a state account executive with
Gateway, will also attend the Oct. 15 demonstration.
At the demonstration, Whitmore and Folkins will speak
about the benefits the facility offers to teachers and students, and Davis
will lead the audience through a typical classroom exercise on the laptops.
Davis, who is teaching a primarily undergraduate course
called Electric Rhetorics, says the new facility is a dream come true. In
the last few years she has tried to incorporate technology into her curriculum
by using traditional computer labs and has found that many times the negatives
outweigh the positives. Computers are in fixed positions and students are
hidden behind large monitors, unable to interact with each other or the instructor,
"This semester, in this new classroom, my students
have what I would consider the ideal setup," she said. "Because the laptops
are neatly tucked into their charging cabinet when not in use, they're never
in the way. My classes are a mix of hands-on work-shopping and theoretical
discussion, so it's very nice to be able to pull the laptops out when we're
ready for them. It means we never have to work around the technology. It opens
an enormous range of possibilities for the classroom."
The new Experimental Learning Facility is a general
assignment classroom and will be used by students and faculty members throughout
the university. The facility is a pilot project for the UI, and future technological
enhancement of classrooms on campus will be based in part on which aspects
of the flexible technology in this room are successful.