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600 attend Conference on Instructional Technologies

By : Cait Anastis

For less than $2,000 — the cost of a tablet PC and video capture software — Binghamton’s Jim Pitarresi has created an on-line archive of problems that his students can view on the Web outside of class to enhance their classroom experience.

Piterresi demonstrated how he created the archive during SUNY’s 14th annual Conference on Instructional Technologies (CIT), hosted by Binghamton University last month.

Pitarresi uses the tablet PC and software to work through equations in real time in front of the classroom. The process also allows him to talk students through the steps needed to find solutions to problems as they watch him on line, outside of the classroom.

“I’ve added enhanced materials,” he said. “Things I don’t have time to do in class. It was intuitive; it was simple. All I did was talk and write.”

Once he has completed a problem, Piterresi can assign it for his students to review on their own and he can also provide them with additional examples of materials covered in class.

“They don’t mind,” he said. “They’re used to watching stuff from the Internet.”

More than 600 representatives from SUNY’s 64 campuses — the largest attendance ever — participated in the four-day CIT program, which included nearly 20 pre-conference workshops, 140 conference presentations, a poster session and a technology showcase with 34 outside commercial vendors. Pitarresi’s program was just one of 24 sessions presented by Binghamton faculty and staff about ways to use technology in the classroom. Other Binghamton

presentations covered topics including the Information Commons, Blackboard, electronic portfolios, mapping census data on the Internet, digital flashcards, managing image collections and wireless classrooms.

In addition to allowing SUNY faculty and staff to share ideas and learn from each other, the conference provided Binghamton a chance to showcase its creative uses of technology.

“Binghamton has made significant and innovative use of technology in the learning process,” President Lois B. DeFleur told the conference attendees. “We were one of the first campuses to incorporate multi-media resources into the general standards for classrooms. Our faculty and staff continue to develop new and creative uses of these technologies.“

Robert King, former SUNY Chancellor, also spoke, stressing the importance of incorporating technology into the class-room. His own children use the Internet to communicate with their friends, study for classes and make purchases, and even he has become accustomed to having information at his fingertips while on the road, thanks to wireless devices, he said.

“The power to get anything travels with us in the palm of our hand, and travels with us unconnected to anything except for a little battery,” he said.

King encouraged participants to learn as much as they could while at the conference and to take that knowledge back to their campuses to share with peers.

Cindy Kester, assistant director for academic computing and an chair of the local planning committee for CIT 2005, said the feedback received from partici-pants and presenters has been good. “Response is really positive — from the people who came to the conference, from our own staff, from our management — on how well it was organized,” she said. “One of most positive things was that we brought people from other campuses to Binghamton so they can see what we have.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08