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Students use the iBooks in King 235 during a recent meeting of Gary Kornblith's class, The Industrial Revolution in America.





Classroom of the Future Arrives at Oberlin

By Sue Kropp


Gary Kornblith uses the new technology in King 235 to enhance the quality of his classes and the availability of resources for his students.






APRIL 19, 2000--This semester King 235 has a new look and a new function--the room connects students and professors to the world's electronic community. After a year of planning, King 235 has become the College's first wireless computer lab, complete with 20 new Macintosh iBooks.

Gary Kornblith, professor of history and director of the Oberlin Center for Technologically Enhanced Teaching, uses the room for History 258, The Industrial Revolution in America.

"A traditional computer lab is not conducive to pedagogy," says Kornblith. "In this room, we use the iBooks just like textbooks--they are part of the class, not the focus of the class. We can open and close them easily, without disrupting the flow of the lecture."

Kornblith also points out that the iBooks allow movement inside the classroom. Students can form groups to work on in-class assignments, accessing material directly from the Internet. Or, they can move to a more comfortable location to do their in-class reading assignments, accessed from online journals or e-books.

Anne Trubek, assistant professor of expository writing and English, also uses the new wireless room.

"We can use the iBooks to access material that is on the web and to find resources for our writing exercises. We also can generate content in class, read it, and proof it. The room provides a workshop environment for my students."

Trubek likens the feeling of the new room to a chemistry lab experience or a studio art class. "We can use the computers, but we also can put them away," she says. "We have the option of using the technology or enjoying a more traditional teaching environment."

The computers in King 235 are working well, and classes have progressed smoothly, says Kornblith.

With much of today's literature being uploaded to the web, it's tempting to wonder what role computers will play in the classroom of the future.

"Wireless laptops will probably become standard equipment for students," Kornblith says. "They'll be able to take notes and do their assignments virtually anywhere. We'll be able to post classroom materials on the web and use other interactive tools during lectures. Wireless laptops will end the distinction between computer work and noncomputer work."





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