The Teaching Collaboratory

The Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation, in collaboration with the
University’s Information + Technology Services, has launched a new
experiment in support of teaching with technology – the Teaching
Collaboratory.

“The goal of the Collaboratory is to provide UofT instructors with access to
new technologies they might like to use for their teaching,” said Avi Hyman,
Director of Academic & Collaborative Technology.

“We wanted to establish a place where our instructors could interact with
things in a safe environment, where help would be available, and long before
taking it into the classroom,” Hyman added.

“And we are not taking about radical technologies – there are other places
on campus for that – we are talking about consumer-level, affordable
technologies that an instructor may not yet have, and we hope the
Collaboratory will provide them with an opportunity to test-drive something
without having to make a purchase or commitment.”

To get started, the Collaboratory has been given a generous donation of five
pieces of technology on long term loan from Dell Computers. These include an
interactive projector, two large screen Windows 8 touch screen computers, a
Windows 8 laptop that can convert to a tablet, and a smaller Windows 8
tablet with stylus writing capabilities.

“Dell believes that technology can play an important role in both student
engagement and to help prepare students to work in a more connected, digital
world,” said Dennis Hofmann, Dell’s Senior Account Executive for UofT.

“These students are ‘connected’ in all aspects of their lives outside of the
classroom, so bringing the technology into the classroom delivers that same
level of engagement thereby fostering the learning outcomes that educators
are working towards.  We are excited to work with the University of Toronto
to further explore how technology can benefit instructors and students,”
Hofmann added.

“In addition to the wonderful donations from Dell that has helped kick this
off, we also have an Echo360 appliance, and we can demonstrate some of
UofT’s standard applications, such as Collaborate and Jabber,” added Hyman.
“The plan, of course, is to continue adding resources.”

The eventual goal is for the Collaboratory to be a drop-in-any-time facility
with staff on hand, but for now, the equipment and software is available for
test driving by appointment; please write to ati@utoronto.ca to arrange a
visit. The main location for the Collaboratory is at the Centre for Teaching
Support & Innovation in Robarts Library, but we are looking at making the
equipment available to other locations by request.

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