Trustee Dana Hart ’76 teaches science to third and fourth graders in Manhattan. She knows the latest technologies can bring lessons to life—if used in the right way. That’s why she set up an endowment to help instructional technologists improve the learning experience at Denison.
Professors are already benefiting from her gift. Dana’s endowment allowed Mike Westmoreland to transform his rigorous mathematics course, Real Analysis. With help from instructional technologist Tony Silveira, Westmoreland recorded his lectures so students can watch them on their own. That leaves precious class time for an interactive workshop that replicates how things work in the real world of research mathematics.
Here’s another example: Athletic training professors turned to instructional technologist Trent Edmunds to help students visualize bodily processes and problems the professors could only describe. So Edmunds created a computerized, animated model of a spine. It shows what happens as the nerves get impinged and disks rupture—rather than the just before and after that static models are able to illustrate. In another project, he animated a model of a lower torso and upper legs so show how problems in the spine occur if one set of muscles is stronger than the others. Edmunds can apply the same kind of model to biology or dance studies, to name a few.
“The Denison faculty is so skilled and the depth of understanding of their field is huge,” Dana says. “But to know what technology can do, you really need to have that visionary who can hear what the curricular and pedagogical issues are and turn that understanding into the right technology.”