More universities invest in latest technology

Florida A&M University has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars obtaining the most up-to- date technology for its students. Many other colleges around the United States are finding new ways to use high-tech gadgets to enhance the educational experience for students as well.

While students may complain about the amount of computers and other equipment available for students, some are pleased with the technology offered.

“I’m OK with the technology that FAMU has in its classrooms. I’ve had classes where the projectors and TVs have been hard to start up, but I think that’s about the biggest problem,” said Rodney Charlemagne, a senior psychology student from Miramar. “I probably wouldn’t even use the equipment even if it was much better.”

Both students and teachers consider it important to have the necessary resources in order for students to excel. The right equipment and the proper resources enhance the learning experience for students and give hands-on experience that can be beneficial in professional careers.

“I usually feel that I have as much up-to-date technology as I need in the classroom,” said Joe Ritchie, FAMU journalism professor.

“In most of my classes I’m teaching in a computer lab, so we’re using Macs or PCs that are networked and connected to the Internet, not to mention loaded with pretty modern software.”

The new journalism building has been equipped with state-of-the art technology that rivals some of the top journalism schools in the country. New TVs, computers, radio equipment and TV station equipment were bought to keep up with the growing demand to have the latest equipment in the communications field.

The new pharmacy building has also been equipped with some of the latest technology that is available. The $32.9 million complex boasts new teacher and research laboratories, a 500-seat auditorium, three smart classrooms and several other labs for prescription analysis and patient assessments.

“We have a computer lab in the nursing school,” said Stephanie Rudert, a nursing student at Florida State University. “Some of the gadgets that we have are pretty modern, like (the equipment we use) to keep track of people’s vitals, but I think that there are more ways that FSU could improve our department.”

Colleges across the U.S. are also trying to figure out new ways to get students to learn the information instructors try to teach. The University of Berkley in California is starting to podcast some of their lectures so that students are able to download them whenever they like. Students can subscribe to RSS feeds and hear any of the lectures posted by their particular professor. Only several Berkeley teachers have been willing to try this new technology, but the concept has spread to audiences worldwide.

Another college that is leading the way with advanced technology is Duke University, with its Interactive Multimedia Project Space. The lab opened in February and is currently being used for classes with an emphasis in graphics and technology. It features four 50-inch plasma screens, IP videoconferencing, a copycam whiteboard that records notes that are later available on the web, an Extended Graphics Array projection system, web streaming and other innovations that allow students to record information, transfer it and then share it with others.

FAMU students have access on campus to technologies they may not know is available to them.

“As for advice, I’d probably send them to our Instructional Media Center to talk to Joe Roache, who knows an awful lot about new technologies, including distance learning software and gadgetry,” Ritchie said.