Last week, the Education Building began housing classes for students at the College and, so far, the reviews on the new building have been nothing but positive.
Marion Cavallaro, an associate professor in the department of counselor education, said that although the move from Forcina Hall into the new building was difficult, “no one minded the work.” Even though she has worked at the College for 33 years, Cavallaro said entering the Education Building was like “walking into a new universe.”
Cavallaro noted that the new technology was one of the major upgrades made when the building was constructed. Sixteen of the 20 rooms in the Education Building are “smart” classrooms that allow professors more possibility in terms of the presentation of material, according to Cavallaro.
The technology makes it easier for professors to show PowerPoints and also provides them the ability to show print materials on screen immediately. Professors can also use the “smart” technology to write over PowerPoints and can save what they write directly into their computers, which makes it so “you don’t even need to use a board,” Cavallaro said.
Another major improvement for the department of counselor education has been the development of rooms that can be viewed through one-way mirrors. Cavallaro explained that these rooms allow students to watch their peers conduct mock counseling sessions and take notes or make critiques of the performance.
These rooms are also equipped with recording devices that allow students to watch themselves in action. The recordings can be copied to card readers and can be taken home for further viewing on all kinds of devices, which Cavallaro believes opens a Pandora’s box of possibilities.
“A lot will happen in the classroom, but this technology will allow us to do a lot of this outside the classroom as well, which is a whole new experience for us,” Cavallaro said. “We are just now beginning to think of all the different possible ways to use it.”
The technology has impressed students as well.
“The most noticeable advantage I see is the new technology,” said senior Alyssa SooHoo, who is in the five-year special education program and is planning to double major in psychology and minor in speech pathology. “I am taking a graduate course on assistive technology and its great that we can just follow along on our own computers in class. The hands-on experience is a lot better and makes for a nicer learning environment.”
Callavaro believes it is important for the students to get a sense of the “smart” classrooms now, since they will have to use it in future jobs.
Beside the technology, students and professors have also commented on how inviting the new building is for education majors.
“One of the best things about it is probably the café because it finally gives education majors a place of their own where they can gather before and after class,” SooHoo said. “There are also little pockets within the building with couches where students can socialize or just read before class. The balcony with seating area outside the special education office is also awesome.”
SooHoo praised a few other aspects of the building as well.
“The multi-purpose room gives education students a place for bigger events and parking in the lot right next to the new building for commuters is helpful,” SooHoo said.
Senior Karyn Unger, who is in the five-year urban education program at the College, also praised the building’s new café.
“I like that the café has a wide selection of drinks and food,” Unger said. “The iced coffee and vegetable packages are delicious. I also like that the café is a great spot to relax and grab a bite to eat in between classes. I can see the cafe becoming an ideal location for meetings with classmates as well.”
Unger added that the new building has an “abundance of windows” and is a lot more open than Forcina Hall was.
Callavaro already gets the sense that the week-old building has given education majors something they have lacked in the past: a home.
“We talk at the College about how we are a community of learners and I think that this kind of building that we have now will facilitate that because I think students will want to be there,” Callavaro said. “There is a café, there is a beautiful computer room and places for them to sit before and after class to do work and converse. I think there will be a new sense of identity with the School of Education Building as not just a classroom building, but a home for them on campus.”