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LSC-University Park faculty use Innovation Room to shape teaching, learning

HOUSTON - Lone Star College-University Park faculty are working together to develop curriculum that implements the Innovation Room’s advanced technologies in classrooms for more engaging lessons. The Innovation Room opened spring 2017 and is open to all students, regardless of discipline . The technology lab has tools like a 3-D printer, virtual reality equipment, advanced media graphics software and other items to enhance learning with hands-on activities. 

LSC-University Park professors Christina Cross, Misty Sabol and Maurica Vickerson took the lead in preparing their colleagues to use the technology lab’s resources. Together, they developed two workshops for faculty and staff, “Teaching with Innovative Learning Technologies (TILT) Lab” and “Create a Quick Project Using the Innovation Room.”

The trainings provide an overview of the Innovation Room’s available equipment, and partner professors with one of three facilitators to review their current curriculum and identify opportunities to create deeper-level, custom content that helps students develop critical thinking skills to continue learning independently.

“Our faculty have an exceptional resource in the Innovation Room to supplement theory with rich, engaging projects,” said Dr. Shah Ardalan, LSC-University Park president. “The workshops ensure that more faculty are trained to incorporate state-of-the-art resources seamlessly into their lessons. As technology evolves, our teaching methods must be ahead of the curve, and our faculty are leading the way by transforming teaching and learning using innovation.”

The curriculum that is developed is available to all faculty to be used as is or to be adapted to their unique needs. Through the sharing of lessons, faculty see their content from an angle that fully embraces the student’s ability to use technology to develop creative solutions to complex problems. 

“Our goal is to move across disciplines using the technologies we have in the Innovation Room to strengthen curriculum,” said Vickerson, assistant professor of business. “Through the TILT Lab, we assist any professor with the content they have in order to demonstrate how the tools in the Innovation Room enhance learning and increase student engagement. Our students are encouraged to be adaptable and creatively approach class projects, skills that will easily transfer to the workplace.”

Psychology students used augmented reality on iPads to have an interactive visual that allowed them to tap on any area of the brain to learn about its associated disorders. Speech students used virtual reality goggles to practice interpersonal and public speaking with an application that assessed speech rate and tone, and identified areas for growth. Virtual reality goggles also enabled business students to travel to Cuba, Russia and other countries via 360°video to gain a better understanding of the cultural and economic factors contributing to their economies.

By incorporating the college’s technology resources, students are able to have an interactive classroom experience that also provides a framework for lifelong learning.

“Technology is evolving rapidly and the technologies students will be required to work with in five to 10 years may not exist today,” said Cross, associate professor of computer information technology. “Exposing students to the Innovation Room allows them to experience unfamiliar technologies and to build an understanding of how to adapt to and use technologies they haven’t seen before.”

For more information, email UP-InnovationRoom@LoneStar.edu.