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Released June 2, 2003


HATTIESBURG - Snakes and salamanders come in all shapes, sizes and colors. But for University of Southern Mississippi biology professor Carl Qualls, it's virtually impossible to replicate their dazzling array of markings on a standard blackboard.

"Color photos make it much easier for students to learn to recognize different species, and to understand many aspects of their ecology," Qualls said.

With the launching of 13 new multimedia equipped classrooms this summer at Southern Miss, Qualls' job just got a lot easier. Administered by the Office of Technology Resources (OTR), these "highly visible classrooms" feature an equipment set that includes a SMART Sympodium lectern, a projection screen and a DVD-VCR combo unit complete with audio and sound system.

Qualls taught in one of these new classrooms for the first time this past spring and he said the equipment made a "big difference" in how he taught his course on herpetology, the biological study of reptiles and amphibians.

"I was able to use color photographs of various species and their habitats instead of being limited to the blackboard, overhead transparencies and preserved specimens," Qualls said.

The SMART Sympodium is the latest state of the art interactive lectern integration module that allows faculty to write notes, annotate over applications, present multimedia and save their work in a single file - all from the same interactive screen - said Joel Holder, equipment services manager at OTR. The Center for Education and Learning Technology (CELT) is responsible for educational training for Southern Miss faculty.

In all, 38 classrooms will be equipped with this multimedia set. The next wave is scheduled for completion before the fall semester of 2003-04.

"Having access to this type of equipment gives faculty opportunities to incorporate new kinds of technology into the teaching and learning environment," said Lin Harper, coordinator of the Center for Education and Learning Technology.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM