Prof. Andy Hirsch uses Solstice Pod technology to teach class

Wireless display technology gives instructors new ways to interact with students  

For 15 minutes, the students in Andy Hirsch’s freshman physics class had been struggling over a problem when he asked them an even harder question: Who wanted to show their work?

In the class of more than 100 students, only one hand raised. But Hirsch didn’t invite her to write on the classroom’s whiteboard or use one of the room’s document cameras – instead, she took out her phone and snapped a picture.

Then, with the push of a button, the student’s problem was on all four of the room’s large display screens, thanks to a new technology called the Solstice Pod, which allows anyone in a classroom equipped with it to present content wirelessly.

Available in all 27 of the Wilmeth Active Learning Center’s classrooms, the technology is designed to let both instructors and students present their content from anywhere in the room.

For Hirsch, now in his 34th year of teaching at Purdue, the Solstice Pod is more than a neat piece of technology. It allows him to bring an old school idea – think students working on a chalkboard – to the modern, active classroom where students watch lecture videos before class and spend the majority of class time working through problems with Hirsch’s help.

In previous years, when he taught in a large lecture format, Hirsch might have worked out the problem himself on the document camera as students took notes. But highlighting students’ work comes with an added bonus: Extra teaching moments.

Back in class, while discussing the work volunteered for display by one of his students, Hirsch discovered an error – the student had forgotten to add a minus sign to one side of an equation. Identifying the error gave Hirsch a moment to reinforce the concept to the class, something he probably wouldn’t have emphasized if he was working the problem alone.

“It’s an easy mistake to make,” Hirsch told his class. “I’ve made it myself.”

Beyond allowing students to wirelessly show their work on a room’s screens, the Solstice Pod can also be used by instructors who want to connect their devices wirelessly – then to teach from their device while walking around the room – and for quickly loading student presentations.

To learn more about teaching with the Solstice Pod or other ways technology can enhance the classroom, contact tlt@purdue.edu   

Writer: Dave Stephens, technology writer, Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP), 765-496-7998, steph103@purdue.edu

Last updated: September 9, 2017

 

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