Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What a fine MEC this is

From The Crawfords in AZ Blog Photos

As you may have noticed, I do not post many details about what I do at ASU. I tend to err on the side of caution because I often am not sure what is “public information” and what is “internal”. Last thing I want to hear about is someone saying that they heard ASU is doing X and that my blog is the source of the information. Universities like ASU pay big bucks to public affairs professionals to announce stuff.

However, I will say that this week I have been having fun supporting the Microcomputers in Education Conference (MEC). This is a conference that alt^I has been part of and is aimed at the K-12 crowd from all over AZ. Since this event has been going on for well over 20 years and there is a public web site, I have no problem talking about it. My role has been simple, provide technical support for the presenters. I am a member of a team made up of other alt^I folks and excellent student workers who did not leave campus for spring break. I have to tell you that the technology in these classrooms surpasses anything I saw at ODU. The rooms have a fantastic instructor station with everything you could think of: computer, document camera, DVD player, wireless microphones, plug-in for your laptop, Smart Symposium board (think your computer screen and John Madden - draw a little here and BOOM!), and the ability to control the lights and to project onto two screens with two different devices. All of this was touch screen controlled, easy to use on the first attempt, and had plenty of desk space for the instructor to put “stuff”. Then there are the student desks - in some cases, the desks have a panel the can be opened and out pops a Dell or Macbook for the student to use. Geeks can check out the classroom configuration page for all of the details. The rooms we are using are on the lower level of the building, and it is hard to describe how open things still are (I will take some pictures around campus one day soon).

I hope you enjoyed seeing the palm tree above. I have noticed that we have “standard” cell towers when they are near places that already have a bunch of stuff sticking up such as light and power poles. However, when the cell towers are off by themselves, they are disguised to match the palm trees. I wonder what camouflaged cell towers in Virginia Beach would look like?

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