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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

The future is now on St. Petersburg College’s Seminole Campus.

The recent opening of the Innovation Lab in the library at the campus drew more than 100 people, including a who’s who of college, community and tech leaders.

Creative learning environments like the lab, often called makerspaces, are growing in popularity. In SPC’s lab, instructors, students and library card holders can use the latest technology tools, including a 3D printer, Cublets KT06 modular robots and the Korg littleBits circuits in seconds kit. With the Monolith 3D printer, made locally by Free Fab 3D, users can create virtually any object through a wide variety of computer programs. In fact, much of the printer itself was created on a 3D printer.

The Cubelets modular robotics kit lets users build surprisingly complex robots out of simple parts that fit together like building blocks. The Korg littleBits kit is a do-it-yourself synthesizer used to compose original electronic music in mere seconds.

The lab also includes an iMac and a desktop running Ubuntu Linux, giving users a taste of different operating systems and the programs they offer, such as Apple’s newly released Swift programming language.

One of the computers in the lab is dedicated to podcasting and audio experiments, and has a professional grade microphone and mixer. All of this was made possible by SPC librarian Chad Mairn’s vision, a $3,500 college innovation grant and help from Seminole Campus Provost Jim Olliver.

Guests at the morning and evening grand opening parties included SPC President Bill Law, Seminole Vice Mayor Thomas Barnhorn, Seminole City Council member Patricia Plantamura, and Lance Eppley and Fri Rider, the designers of the Monolith 3D printer. Mo Eppley of the St. Pete Makers, also attended. St. Pete Makers is a non-profit group seeking to bring a high-tech makerspace to St. Petersburg.

The innovators demonstrated what the lab’s 3D printer was capable of, showing off many complex designs that were created on the Monolith such as a bearing printed as a single piece. Most importantly, members of the community – young and old – filled the lab and spilled out into the hall during the grand opening parties.

One guest, a 12-year-old Android app developer, volunteered to teach a workshop on mobile development. Mairn was quick to accept and noted that the lab will host a wide variety of workshops and guest speakers. Among them will be the creator of a makerspace in Taiwan who will connect with guests via teleconference on the lab’s smart TV and webcam.

The lab will host its first workshop on June 12, 10 a.m. – noon, on how to create a LibraryBox, a palm-sized computer designed to serve files in areas with no Internet access. The workshop is free and open to the public.

The Innovation Lab is currently seeking volunteers to help run the lab. You can apply online or by contacting Chad Mairn at 394-6917.

Check out our Facebook gallery of the Innovation Lab opening. Read coverage of the Innovation Lab in, the Tampa TribuneTMCnet.com and 83degreesmedia.com.

SPC student Chris Demmons, who writes for SPC’s student newspaper, Sandbox News, provided this report. Read his story in Sandbox News.

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Event

The Seminole Community Library will be the location of the grand opening of the SPC’s new Innovation Lab next week.

YOU’RE INVITED:
SPC employees and the public are invited to the grand opening
Tuesday, June 3
11 a.m. to noon and 6 to 7 p.m.
Seminole Community Library at St. Petersburg College
9200 113th St., Seminole, LI 201.

The lab serves as a creative environment, often called a makerspace, that will provide people with common interests like computers, technology, science or digital arts a location to socialize and collaborate on ideas and learn new skills. Visitors to the SPC location will be able to learn how to program different devices, such as the Raspberry Pi, the Arduino Genuine Mega 2560 Board and the ProtoSnap LilyPad Development Board.

The lab offers:

  • 3-D printer
  • FreeFab3D Monolith 3D Printer built locally using other 3D printers
  • littleBits Synth Kit
  • Arduino Genuine Mega 2560 Circuit Board Experimentation Kit
  • Avid Fast Track Duo Audio Interface with Pro Tools Express
  • An iMac, 2 Linux computers, and 1 Windows computer
  • A variety of Open Source Software applications for 3D printing, design etc.
  • MaKey MaKey: Original Invention Kit
  • Cubelets KT06 Kit
  • ProtoSnap LilyPad Development Board
  • 2 CanaKit Raspberry Pi Ultimate Starter Kits
  • Apollo Precision Tools 53-Piece Tool Kit
  • Parallax Programmable Boe-Bot Robot Kit
  • Elenco Deluxe Learn To Solder Kit
  • Samsung 32-Inch 1080p LED HDTV with Logitech TV Cam HD for Skype Calls
  • Chromecast
  • Online File Distribution System for access to project files, open access resources, etc.
  • Reference collection including books and magazines

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The public is invited to the grand opening of the Innovation Lab
Date: Tuesday, June 3
Time: 11 a.m.-noon and 6-7 p.m.
Where: Seminole Community Library at St. Petersburg College
9200 113th St, Seminole, LI 201

Beginning in June, budding creators and innovators can share ideas, create robots, learn or sharpen programming skills and build objects using 3-D printers at St. Petersburg College’s new Innovation Lab. The space, located in the Seminole Community Library, provides a modern, technologically advanced version of your dad’s garage, so to speak.

The lab’s grand opening is June 3 in room 201 from 11 a.m. – noon and 6 to 7 p.m. at SPC’s Seminole Campus. The event, at 9200 113th St., Seminole, is open to the public.

These creative learning environments, often called makerspaces, are growing in popularity, said Information Services Librarian Chad Mairn, who received a $3,500 Innovation Grant from the St. Petersburg College Foundation to start the lab.

“For years we’ve been more consumption oriented, but now the trend is moving towards creating while discovering things yourself,” said Mairn. “With these technology tools, you can design and build things, learn, and share ideas instead of passively consuming information.”

The space will provide an area where people with common interests like computers, technology, science or digital arts can socialize and collaborate on ideas and learn new skills. In SPC’s lab, which is open to the public, visitors can learn how to program different devices, such as the Raspberry Pi, the Arduino Genuine Mega 2560 Circuit Board and the ProtoSnap LilyPad Development Board.

Instructional Technologist Nancy Munce shows off the cookie cutter she created in SPC’s Innovation Lab.

Instructional Technologist Nancy Munce shows off the cookie cutter she created in SPC’s Innovation Lab.

“That lab is going to be phenomenal,” said Instructional Technologist Nancy Munce, who used the 3-D printer to create a cookie cutter she designed from scratch. “Those printers are still wickedly expensive; too expensive to have at home. The potential to learn valued skills is remarkable.”

Munce saw Mairn’s enthusiastic Facebook post about the lab and took him up on his offer to get involved. She was looking to prepare cookies for a friend who was graduating from the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

She figured out how to use Adobe Illustrator to create an outline for the cookie cutter and then used a 3-D CAD (computer-assisted design) program for the rest.

“I poked around and somehow figured it all out,” said Munce. “Basically this saved me from having to cut three dozen cookies by hand.”

In addition to the printer, the lab will have:

  • FreeFab3D Monolith 3D Printer built locally using other 3D printers
  • littleBits Synth Kit
  • Arduino Genuine Mega 2560 Circuit Board Experimentation Kit
  • Avid Fast Track Duo Audio Interface with Pro Tools Express
  • An iMac, 2 Linux computers, and 1 Windows computer
  • A variety of Open Source Software applications for 3D printing, design etc.
  • MaKey MaKey: Original Invention Kit
  • Cubelets KT06 Kit
  • ProtoSnap LilyPad Development Board
  • 2 CanaKit Raspberry Pi Ultimate Starter Kits
  • Apollo Precision Tools 53-Piece Tool Kit
  • Parallax Programmable Boe-Bot Robot Kit
  • Elenco Deluxe Learn To Solder Kit
  • Samsung 32-Inch 1080p LED HDTV with Logitech TV Cam HD for Skype Calls
  • Chromecast
  • Online File Distribution System for access to project files, open access resources, etc.
  • Reference collection including books and magazines

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Dr. Jennifer Haber, SPC Communications FacultySt. Petersburg College communications professor Dr. Jennifer Haber received a national award for using social media and technology to engage her students.

Haber is the 2013 recipient of Crestron’s Summum Bonum Award. Latin for “the highest good,” the national award is presented to teachers with a track record of improving student achievement and making a difference in the lives of their students.

A national provider of classroom equipment, Crestron will present Haber with a plaque and a check for $2,000 at an event on the Tarpon Springs Campus on Jan. 15, 2014.

“Technology is everywhere and evolves constantly,” Haber said. “As educators it’s important that we keep trying new technologies that can help our students be better learners.”

Haber finds time to learn about and test new technologies by utilizing the resources and expertise her campus Instructional Design Technologist (IDT) provides.

“Jennifer is always reaching out to explore new ways to solve challenges with technology,” said Karen Hesting, Tarpon Springs IDT. “She is not just adding technology to make her course shiny. She is doing it to help her students succeed.”

Each term she picks one or two new technologies to learn about and decide if they will help her students be more successful. This term it was Facebook groups and ANGEL rubrics.

Facebook Groups

FacebookOn Facebook, students not only are responding, but also are initiating conversations on content and reaching out to her and other students.

“It’s not about being complicated or overly techie but about knowing your audience and learning how to communicate with this generation where they are at,” she said. “I login to ANGEL maybe once a day to check for student communications. Facebook notices on my phone are an ongoing conversation with my students. I want them to know I am available. It’s not like I respond instantly all the time. But when I can and it matters – I do.”

Dr. Jennifer Haber Facebook conversation

Sample Facebook Group conversation with students.

ANGEL Rubrics

ANGEL 8 includes a grading rubric that connects to drop boxes, discussion forums, and essay type assessment questions. Check out a recent Technology Project and the Rubric developed for the assignment.

Top Tech Tools

Here are a few of Haber’s top technology and social media picks and how she uses them:
Top Tech Tools

  1. ANGEL rubrics – for grading
  2. Google Voice – for communication
  3. Facebook – for discussion
  4. Twitter – for content/readings
  5. SnagIt – for paper review
  6. Turnitin – for paper review and plagiarism detection
  7. YouTube – for content
  8. Camtasia – for content

WITS Blog Resources

Awards and conferences

In addition to the recent Crestron award, Haber also received the CETL Critical Thinking Grant (2012) and Travel Grant (2013). Funds from the travel grant were used to present at the Sloan Blended Learning Conference in July 2013 in Milwaukee, WI. She also attended the Campus Technology conference this summer in Boston.

Background

Dr. Jennifer Haber has been teaching at SPC for 15 years, full-time for the last 12. Her educational background is in teaching and technology. Her bachelor’s and master’s degrees are in English from the University of Florida and University of Central Florida respectively. Her Ph.D. is in Curriculum and Instruction with a cognate in Instructional Technology from the University of South Florida. At home, she is a soccer mom with two children ages 8 and 11. She loves to travel with her husband and children and has a goal for her children to visit all 50 states.

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d2l-logoAfter more than a year of research, it’s official: Desire2Learn will replace Angel as the college’s learning management system. The Board of Trustees officially approved the decision on Tuesday.

The transition to the new system will take about 18 months to complete, but that is only the beginning.

“Changing the LMS is only the first part of an even bigger project, and that is revitalizing our online education,” Vicki Westergard, executive director of eCampus, Web and Instructional Technology, told the board.

More than 90 members of faculty and staff are involved in a complete examination of how online learning at St. Petersburg College should look in the years ahead. See a previous story in the Blue & White on revitalizing online education for more details.

“The larger issue is online education in general,” said Rich Mercadante, Faculty Governance Organization president. “Over summer, Dr. Law put together a white paper with some of questions we should be considering with online education.

“One of the questions he wrote really captured the spirit of what we need to accomplish: What level of learning or support should a student have a right to expect when he or she enrolls at SPC?”

President Bill Law told the board that SPC already is a leader in online education. “About 10 percent of all online enrollment in the Florida College System is done by St. Petersburg College. We are the lead dog in this. We’ve been at this the longest so our stuff is a little shopworn. It’s like every other technology, it’s a consumable. “

Learn more:

See the Learning Management System Replacement PowerPoint presented to the Board of Trustees on Tuesday.

Watch the Board of Trustees meeting discussion about the learning management system and online education revitalization.

Read Dr. Law’s four-page white paper on Online Course Renewal at St. Petersburg College that sets out the issues, challenges and expectations for the project.

See the Online Education PowerPoint presented by Vicki Westergard at Fall Faculty.

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wifiThe St. Petersburg College’s wireless network has undergone a major upgrade on all of its campuses in Pinellas County.

The new SPC Wi-Fi is used by students, staff and visitors, including users in the on-campus joint-use public libraries. Compared to fall 2012, the network’s usage already has increased 200-400 percent.

The previous, aging wireless network was retired in favor of state-of-the-art technology, which was designed with a focus on the student experience. Network speeds are now 10 times faster and the Wi-Fi now supports many new mobile devices including Androids, iPads and iPhones.

The new cloud-based system frees up valuable SPC resources to optimize and maintain the wireless systems. Network coverage areas also have increased substantially to cover indoor areas and major outside student gathering areas.

Once users log onto the network, they will not be required to re-enter their login information during subsequent visits because their computers will automatically recognize the network.

Update requires a one-time log-in

When you use SPC Wi-Fi for the first time after Friday, Nov. 1, you will be required to re-enter your login information. This only will be necessary one time to install a security update.

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IMG_1122Recently, St. Petersburg College students in CISCO Certified Network Associates classes got the chance to tour Tech Data as part of the college’s Tampa Bay High-Tech Technology Program.

With the help of Collegewide Internship Coordinator Susan Biszewski-Eber, Career Outreach Specialist Rosaria Pipitone set up a tour of the Tech Data facility. The vice president of Tech Data Services, Bill Brooks, also played an active role in reaching out to the college since he had a “strong interest in partnering with a community college such as SPC.”

Pipitone, along with Michael Gordon, CISCO Instructor at SPC, and the CCNA students were given a tour of the CISCO labs at Tech Data and had hands-on experience working with the equipment.

They also had the opportunity to experience a simulated work environment where they were able to deal with customers over the phone.

Students learned that they “don’t have to be locked into one area of technology, but there are a host of opportunities that Tech Data has to offer,” said Pipitone. In the end, there was a Question-and-Answer session with a former SPC student who now works for Tech Data.

Overall, Pipitone said that the experience was designed to “offer hope to those who are unemployed and open their perception to the working world.”

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