NOTE: This article will contain links to videos that demonstrate the use of some of the products that are mentioned.
Every January for more than 4 decades the Consumer Electronics Show has been held in Las Vegas and is the place for established and hopeful break out companies to showcase their new electronic, communications, and software products. The show always attracts heavy, wide-spread coverage from the media. It also attracts a large crowd of serious investors and ’techies’ who do not want to miss the ’next big trend’ in electronic gear and appliances. Amongst the wireless kitchen appliances, smart wristwatches, and other slick gear are products that have the potential to become important and useful tools for education. This is especially true for a college, such as Gettysburg, that has an established reputation for providing its students, faculty, and staff with the technology that enhances their learning, classroom presentation, and job performance. For this reason, IT always sends representatives to CES. This year Rod Tosten, Vice President for IT, and Gavin Foster, Associate Vice President, attended CES 2013 from January 8 to January 11. Rod is expected advise the Board of Trustees about emerging technologies that are relevant to campus operations and their expected costs. In this article Rod shares his views about a few of the products that he saw as having a potential for making an impact.
Some of the most popular displays involved 3 dimensional modeling and printing. 3D printers have become smaller and less expensive. They provide a way to physically reproduce 3D images produced on a computer screen. These printers are also called 3D replicating copiers. These ’printers’ replicate objects by slicing their virtual image into very thin horizontal slices and using either powder and resins, or thin layers of melted plastic. In effect, the 3D printer manufactures a copy of the object from its digital design. Each layer can be as thin as a sheet of paper and the printer uses only as much material as is needed for that layer. The cost of the plastic based printers start at under $2000, and some are small enough to fit on a desktop. Another product of interest was a W2 mini projector , that can serve as a portable multimedia system. Of course, there were prototypes of products from startup companies were also on display. Tosten took note of an input device for computers that can transmit brain waves. If perfected, this would have profound effects for computer use by severely physically disadvantaged members of the campus community. Another product was known as the Coyote Case. It is a one touch panic alarm built into a smart phone case. It is able to alert 911 or the campus DPS and give them the location of the alarm. The products mentioned in this article are only a few of the devices and software that were on display at CES 2013. To see more of what was on display, go to this URL.
A short walk of less than 200 steps from the Broadway entrance to the John F. Jaeger Center for Athletics, Recreation, and Fitness is one of the real treasures of the Gettysburg College campus - IT’s Digital Center. Located just inside the east entrance to the West Building, the Digital Center is the place to go for equipment and training in relation to special printing, scanning, or video editing projects. The equipment is maintained and supported by the ITT staff. The support desk is staffed daily by student Digital Center Facilitators who are also trained to provide assistance on how to use the equipment. The model is one of self-help. The staff doesn’t do the work for users, but rather makes sure that they are able to do it themselves using the equipment in the Center. The Digital Center houses an open lab with 12 computers,6 PCs and 6 Macs, available for study and research. This article will discuss the equipment that is available to the campus community.
Beginning with the computing facilities available in the Digital Center, consider the lab. Designed with a focus on multimedia creation, this facility contains computers with audio-visual editing, design, and web creation software. Primary among this software is the Adobe Master Suite which includes such programs as Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, and Dreamweaver. All computers are accessible to a printer and also have Word, PowerPoint, and Excel installed. The Digital Center is an open lab. Computers are available for use on a first-come, first-served basis.
Additionally, using scanners in the Digital Center members of the college community can convert old 35 millimeter slides or photos into images for use in printed reports or PowerPoint slides. Two sheet-fed scanners also allow users to quickly scan single or double-sided, multipage documents. Other equipment in the Digital Center includes the ever-popular poster printer designated for academic or administrative projects and several dubbing stations that convert between cassette tape, LP, and CD as well as VHS, mini-DV, and DVD. Lastly, the Digital Center also provides a small area for project planning, complete with a computer hook up where users can attach a laptop to a 60” video screen mounted on the wall. Surrounding the screen is a grouping of comfortable stuffed chairs with room to work.
Thus, the next time you are going to the Jaeger Athletic Center for a work out, bring along your academic or office work. After your work out, take that short walk to the Digital Center and use the resources that are waiting for you.