Winther Hall home to new Active Collaboration Lab

The UW-Whitewater College of Education and Professional Studies will soon open a new Active Collaboration Lab located in the lower level of Winther Hall.

The ACL was made possible due to a $150,000 grant from the Wisconsin Technology Initiative and is scheduled to open in March.

Equipped with some of the latest technologies including interactive whiteboards, student-response systems and other “smart technology” found in many K-12 schools today, the lab will be open to all students and faculty members within the college.

The facility has already been re-carpeted, painted and new in-direct lighting has been installed. The new lab area is now ready to have interactive boards and furniture moved in.

Education students should benefit from the new technology and training they can now receive. The ACL provides training in lecture capture and video streaming, meaning video can be share between other school districts and other institutions that have appropriate technological connections.

“This lab will give students an opportunity to learn hands-on and really explore the equipment we will be using in the future classroom,” junior Devan Fox said.

The new technology will not only help students and faculty learn from observing classroom teachers via video conferencing, but it will also help the college in developing partnerships with local school districts.

“Students learn in many different ways, and these new technologies will allow teachers to reach all types of learners at the same time,” senior Mary Bergenske said.  “I am extremely excited to check out the lab and get the experience I need to be a well-rounded teacher.”

UW-Whitewater now graduates more new state teachers than any other Wisconsin university.

Ellyn Dickmann

“Our hope is to have the methods courses, the technology and the curricula so that our students, no matter their licensure area or their major, will benefit from what we’re doing in the Active Collaboration Lab,” Ellyn Dickmann, associate dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies said.

According to Dickmann, student teachers and licensed teachers are expected to  have experience with interactive whiteboards before they are hired.

“The workforce right now is beyond extremely competitive, meaning there can be hundreds of applicants for one teaching position,” Dickmann said.  “If school districts are using criteria such as competence with technology in the hiring process, our students will have an edge in those cases.”

The ACL is also open for teachers to use as a classroom for smaller classes. Professors will be able to sign up and bring their class in to use the new technology.

The College of Education will also look to open the ACL to other colleges on campus.

“We’ll have to have some time as a college to figure out how this is really going to work structurally and technologically, since we’ve never had an Active Collaboration Lab before, and then definitely the goal is to open it up to other colleges and work across campus,” Dickmann said.

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