September 17, 2019
Story and photos by Joe Vinduska
Barton Community College will host a Chamber Business After Hours from 5-7 p.m. on Sept. 19 in the Classroom Building, room 150 to showcase its Nex-Tech Active Learning Classroom, which utilizes technology solutions to provide a modern educational experience for its students.
In January of 2019, Dean of Academics Brian Howe, Chief Information Officer Michelle Kaiser and Executive Director of Institutional Advancement Coleen Cape, made a formal presentation to Nex-Tech and asked them to sponsor this innovative, unique and cutting edge classroom.
“Nex-Tech connects thousands of people and businesses through a robust broadband network and cutting-edge technology,” Cape said. “With a history of donating dollars and technology to area schools, parks, clubs, sports teams and charitable organizations, it seemed a perfect fit for the Barton Community College Foundation to approach Nex-Tech with the opportunity to fund the innovative Active Learning Classroom.”
Nex-Tech Chief Executive Officer Jimmy Todd said it is important to the company to give back to the Great Bend community and recently just announced plans to bring fiber connectivity to residential neighborhoods in Great Bend.
“This fiber expansion, along with previous business fiber routes and the sponsorship of the Active Learning classroom are just a few of the ways Nex-Tech is committed to the Great Bend community,” he said.
The classroom is outfitted with the following technology:
- Vision Exchange Active Learning Pod System - this system connects classroom groups with the latest technologies to enhance collaborative learning furniture.
- Pivot Jr. Workstation – mobility in the classroom is key to a collaborative environment. The Pivot Jr. allows freedom for students to move throughout the room.
- Flex Active Flip Table – with a simple pull, you can quickly and easily flip the table to a nesting position for easy storage. These tables can store in a smaller place allowing quick reconfiguration of the active learning environment.
- Hovercam Pilot - this is a high-tech teacher station with a computer and collaboration hub all-in-one and it’s also plug-and-play ready, so it easily connects with other devices.
All of this furniture is supported by software provided by Sony Vision Exchange. This software allows for easy drag and drop and other intuitive navigation via touchscreen. Whiteboards can be brought up anytime for brainstorming sessions and note-taking. Any image on the main view can be saved as a snapshot together with annotation on top. Teachers can monitor and select any group’s information and then share it will all other group screens.
Howe said the new equipment is very agile and will give teachers many options for molding their classroom experiences.
“This equipment allows multiple configurations of the room, which can be done quickly,” he said. “You can have multiple arrangements within the same class period, which allows students to collaborate, communicate and engage with the content of the course. This gives our teachers a great opportunity to engage their students beyond the traditional classroom setting.”
Cape said she is excited about the project and the classroom is up and running for the fall semester.
“Nex-Tech has been a loyal and supportive educational partner to Barton Community College, and we are extremely grateful for their vision, foresight and commitment to community,” she said.