A Zoom-Enhanced Classroom
Q&A with Amber Schlater, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology
Picture courtesy of Humans of CSS Facebook Page How did you use Zoom in your classes in a creative way?
PowerPoint lectures are a regular, albeit small, component to my Physiology laboratories, yet there is no projector in the lab where I currently teach. Last summer, in a meeting with the Academic Technology crew, I inquired about installing a new projector in my Physiology laboratory; while this was within the realm of possibilities, it was brought to my attention that such an upgrade would come with a hefty price-tag.This left me with a bit of a dilemma: we needed a technology solution for lecture visuals, but comparatively speaking, it was lower on the priority list.
Cue in Jane Sims. She noticed that we had student computers at each table in the lab, all of which were connected to the network, and suggested using Zoom to connect student computers to my computer at the head of the lab when doing PowerPoint presentations. This fall semester, I took Jane's suggestion and used Zoom every Physiology lab.
Here's what I found: it was a huge success! Moreover, the students really enjoyed it; because screens were right in front of them, they could see the slides really well. This was especially helpful when we were looking at detailed images, such as cell micrographs. Also, because students were grouped together (rather than using their own personal device screen), it wasn't an isolating experience. The service was reliable, it was easy to implement, and it didn't change the way I lecture - I can still move around the room, and if I need to highlight something on a slide, I can move over to the computer and use PowerPoint's built-in laser.
How do you work with technology in the classroom? Any strategies?
I work with technology in the classroom patiently (at least that's what I keep telling myself!) When things go awry, I try to avoid troubleshooting on my own because this is not my area of expertise; instead, I utilize our expert technology staff.
Ultimately it is important to me to keep technology as an enhancement/supplement rather than a crutch - expect the occasional technological snafu, always have a back up in place, and outsource problems to our expert staff members.