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West Chester U Opens Ed Tech Center with Focus on Natural User Interfaces
- By Dian Schaffhauser
West Chester University in Pennsylvania will be showing off its new Demonstration and Application Center this week, where students, faculty, and staff can try out new forms of technology and learn more about their application in education. The focus is on interactivity, active learning, and accessibility, particularly through the use of natural user interfaces, which rely on gestures, voice, and touch to interact with computers. Guests will be allowed to try out new products and attend presentations. Also, university students will have the chance to participate in technology development opportunities introduced at the center.
A major supporter is Microsoft, whose Kinect sensor, familiar to game players, now runs with Windows. The company offers a software development kit that lets developers exploit Kinect to try out new forms of user interaction.
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West Chester University's Demonstration and Application Center will allow guests and students to explore the use of technology in education.
Users will have the chance to try out a number of cutting edge technologies, including:
- The Windows Touch interface and a Windows 8 preview;
- Microsoft Kinect for Windows;
- A Samsung SUR40 tabletop computer running Microsoft Surface;
- Lenovo All-in-One IdeaCentre, ThinkPad Tablet, and ThinkPad X220T convertible computers;
- Polycom's HDX8000 video conferencing kit; and
- WiDi wireless display technology.
Wireless networking in the space is delivered with the use of Aruba Networks' 3200 Controller, S3500 Switch, and Aruba access points.
The center will also host a "classroom of the future," where K-12 teachers can sample new and nascent products and work with other educators on coming up with ideas for integrating the use of technology in the classroom.
Strengthening the connection between education and technology isn't new to the university. West Chester currently offers a couple of graduate certificate programs with an emphasis on technology. One focuses on universal design for learning and assistive technology and the other on education technology.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.