From chalkboards to glass light boards

New technologies are introduced to the world on a seemingly regular basis. Classrooms seem to still be in the past though, with whiteboards being old-school, two-dimensional and potentially dismissal to some students who are taking online classes.

In the faculty center, located on the first floor of the Jean and Charles Schulz Information Center, the glass light board has been introduced and is being used as a means to help online students and to supplement classroom learning.

Noelia Franzen, Academic Technology Manager, mentioned some features of the board include LED lights, a green screen in the backdrop, a camera, mirror and the glass itself.

It’s very simple to use and it engages the student. The instructor simply faces the classroom and writes the criteria they are teaching on the transparent board. 

One would expect the writing to be backwards from the viewer’s perspective, but with the use of a mirror and camera projecting the image, the instructor can proceed to write from left to right and the student can see the teachings without the image distorted.

Franzen said that San Diego State University is currently using the ‘learning glass’ to enhance online courses and the student’s experience. When asked if she thought this technology would spread in larger classrooms here at Sonoma State, she said it would take more staffing to do the recording and it would be difficult to integrate it in classrooms.

“It’s possible that light boards could begin popping up around campus in instructional spaces,” said Robert Bach, an information technology consultant.

Bach and an engineering student helped in the process of creating what was then called a ‘learning glass’ earlier this year.

“There appears to be a noticeable boost to student engagement when using the light board versus a traditional classroom whiteboard or chalkboard,” said Bach. 

He also states that the tool would significantly improve the quality and versatility of video material for online courses.

Bach said he noticed the need for improvement one summer when he was surveying classroom technology for IT and noted how there was need for improvement on our campus with technology in the classrooms.

With the glass light board, students who take online courses can potentially focus more and be stimulated while concentrating on their studies.

“In my opinion, classroom technology allows SSU to stay competitive within the CSU system and beyond,” added Bach.