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UB Students Take the Spotlight in Latest Digital Challenge

By Blake Cooper

Published March 19, 2015

On April 1, 2015, the next installment of the Digital Challenges Series will allow students to answer an important question: What am I doing in your classroom?

Blake Cooper (UB Student, Class of 2016) is originally from Canandaigua, NY. He is studying Spanish, Linguistics and Comparative Literature, and beginning work on translating an Argentinian novel into English.

The question arises from the ubiquity of mobile technology used by students in the classroom, and the all-too-common assumption that these devices are a distraction. At this event, students will have an opportunity to participate in an open mic from 12-1 p.m. and explain how smartphones and tablets can be powerful tools in a student’s arsenal for academic success.

Prior to the student discussions, UB Department of Library and Information Studies’ Associate Professor Valerie Nesset will give a keynote address, addressing the topic, “Online or Out-of-Line: Mobile Devices in the Classroom.”  Marc Kiviniemi, Assistant Professor in the UB Department of Community Health and Human Behavior, will offer his reflections following the open mic at 1 p.m.

Domenic J. Licata, an Instructor and Instructional Support Technician with the UB Department of Art, is a member of the Digital Challenges planning team. He says that by showcasing students, this event will help to fulfill the potential of the Digital Challenges series. “We want to hear from all stakeholders facing these challenges, from faculty and IT staff to government agents, vendors and especially students. This series allows us to share ideas with and learn from a range of others who have similar concerns, but perhaps different experiences.”

“Instructors stand to gain new perspectives on how students interact with their devices and applications,” Domenic said, “which could potentially alter the way we develop and deliver curricula. Students could benefit by using this forum to share new discoveries and resources with one another.”

Domenic also notes that, as technology becomes vital to our everyday lives, so it becomes vital to understand how this affects and benefits us.

“Research shows that our brains are being physically rewired to accommodate and seek out distraction,” Domenic said. “On the other hand, we are becoming adept at reacting to fast-moving information and conducting multiple tasks at once. Should this alarm us, or should we embrace it as the next phase of our evolution?”

All community members are welcome and invited to attend the April 1 event, which begins at 10:30 a.m. in 145 Student Union. Registration is encouraged. For more information, visit the Digital Challenges website.