By Charles Collier, The Denmark News
Collaboration Center for student, business, non-profit use
DENMARK—The Denmark School District recently unveiled a state-of-the-art, high-tech room in the high school which will bring its curriculum, and its students, another step into the future. Plush with the communication technologies quickly being ushered into universities, technical colleges, and business environments, Denmark students and teachers alike will be among the inaugural members of a new generation focused on collaborative ideas.
Formerly an underused computer lab adjacent to the second-floor branch of the Brown County Public Library, the “Collaboration Center” features two instructional screens at the head of the room—one a monitor for the lead computer and the other an interactive digital whiteboard with all the responsiveness of a typical touch screen.
Teachers leading classes in the Center will be able to remotely control their information at the with an iPad while walking around the room throughout the class. Pending the subject, instructors could also invite guest speakers or demonstrators without requiring physical entry into the building. With advanced video conferencing, a room full of people 1,000 miles away can absorb in real-time the lessons another has to offer. While in conference, the monitor detects particular voices and pinpoints their location before focusing its camera specifically on one speaker, able to switch back and forth throughout the conference.
Instructors are undoubtedly empowered with the new boost in technology, but students will be equally awash in leading-edge computing power.
Each straddling wall has two monitors hanging at the end of group tables, all with five chairs and as many computer ports. Those at the table can simultaneously share information from laptops on the larger group screen and even broadcast content to the entire room—audio included.
The Collaboration Center, more in resemblance to a metropolitan coffeehouse than what one imagines for a public school’s computer lab, was partially funded by grants from the Wisconsin Technology Initiative organization. While the Center’s flagship purpose is to mirror the public education experience with that of the modern post-secondary, its technology will be available for extra-curricular use.
The Library, which submitted a letter of support for the project, may host new public classes and events made possible with the recent renovation. The Center builds upon last year’s dramatic bandwidth increase for both DHS and the Library, opening new opportunities for everyone within reach of the Library.
Recognizing the Center’s tilt toward a modern business environment, local organizations and businesses will also be able to use the room for meetings, presentations, and teleconferences. District Administrator Tony Klaubauf said that hours during the school day will likely be “sacred” for instructional use, but that as time progresses a more definite availability schedule may be known.
An open house for the Center is planned for the near future.