College gets technology boost

Published 10:50 pm Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Suffolk campus of Paul D. Camp Community College now boasts the most up-to-date technology in two of its classrooms.

The old classrooms received makeovers, including “whiteboard” paint, touch-screen computers, ceiling-mounted projectors with surround sound, visual presenters and more. The upgrades were funded by donations from Birdsong Corporation and the Birdsong Trust Fund.

“You have clearly given your teachers a great opportunity to teach more efficiently,” said George Y. Birdsong, chief operating officer of Birdsong Corporation. “From the presentation, everyone could see that the new technology allows more time to do more things during class.”

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About 30 people attended a ribbon-cutting Monday for the classrooms and viewed demonstrations of how the technology can be used.

“This is an example of how teaching has changed, and what a difference generous donors can make in students’ lives,” said Paul Conco, president of PDCCC.

Biology instructor Alicia Newby gave a demonstration of how the Elmo visual presenter could save time in class. She placed a model of a human bone on the presenter. The model then was projected onto the wall and magnified so the entire class could view it and discuss its details.

Public speaking instructor Jillian Overby explained how she uses YouTube so her students can visualize what type of posture and eye contact are expected when giving a presentation.

English instructor Ronette Jacobs noted that the technology helps her students become more engaged during class by editing others’ work on the whiteboard display.

“It gets them out of their seats,” Jacobs said.

One wall of each classroom is painted with special whiteboard paint, which allows the instructor and students to write on it with dry-erase markers and then erase and start over.

Other new technology in the rooms allows teachers to record lectures or class discussions and translate handwriting on the whiteboard walls into computer text. The classrooms also received new tables and chairs that are easier to move than the old ones, allowing more group work in the classes.

Conco praised the donors who made the new technology possible.

“They say that all new technology has the appearance of magic,” he said. “I think of you all (representatives from Birdsong Corporation and Birdsong Trust Fund) as magicians. This is such a gift for the students of today and tomorrow.”