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Worth a Thousand Words: BMCC Technology Day 2012

Nadia Sandy-Bruce, College Computing Center

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Faculty and staff sharing their best technology and digital imagery practices kicked off the daylong series of events at BMCC Technology Day. “Demofest on the Promenade” was the first event on the day’s agenda on February 29, 2012.

Technology and ideas on display included “Blackboard 9.1” scheduled for release in CUNY colleges this June, presented by Ms. Donna Dickinson, Instructional Designer, E-Learning Center, and “GIMP: A Free Photoshop Alternative,” presented by Mr. Alex Pereira, Help Desk Manager, E-Learning Center. Prof. Geoff Klock, English, displayed “Creating a Video Clip Mash-Up;” Prof. Josephine Culkin, Media Arts and Technology, presented “Teaching with Comics;” and Mr. Ahmed Adeoshun, IT Support Assistant, College Computing Center, presented “Welcoming CISCO Telephony and Microsoft SharePoint to BMCC this Fall.”

The day’s theme was “Worth a Thousand Words: Digital Imagery in the Classroom.” This theme “is a reality in teaching and learning today,” according to Provost and Senior Vice President Dr. Sadie Bragg, who welcomed attendees and encouraged reflection on how today’s digitized world impacts the practices and possibilities of learning.

Plenary Speech

Plenary speaker Dr. Chris Shamburg engaged the audience in activities that demonstrated “Remix as an Educational Activity.” Dr. Shamburg, Professor in the Graduate Program in Educational Technology at New Jersey City University, asked the audience to think of “the idea of having a single artifact and changing the way we use it.” While images are increasingly important, “audio is the greatest medium,” Dr. Shamburg said. “You create the pictures you hear,” according to Dr. Shamburg. Through a simple exercise saying the letter “o,” Dr. Shamburg demonstrated how “we can change meaning with inflexion and juxtaposition.”  Additionally, he called on the audience to participate in reading an excerpt from a play, and creating sound effects by riffling through a bowl of potato chips. Recording each, Shamburg remixed the sounds, an image, and the words to show how the combination enhances students’ education.

Five Minutes of Fame

The Five Minutes of Fame segment, a recent addition to the Technology Day program, gave faculty and staff a five minute opportunity to present technology they have recently employed successfully.  

Mr. Jason Schneiderman, Director of the Writing Center, explained how using Skype in tutoring maintains face to face interaction, giving the tutor autonomy to assess students’ needs and allowing the student to remain an active participant in the revision process.

“My classroom has open walls!” said Prof. Amanda Licastro, English, who used her five minutes of fame to highlight how she used WordPress to build her own Learning Management System.

Prof. David Krauss, Science, introduced the audience to the Biosciences Education Network – BEN – a digital library of resources for biological science education. 

Prof. Dorothea Coiffe, Library, highlighted how she used a 2011 PSC-CUNY grant to develop a Centralized Moving Image Site for the Library, which can be used to enhance pedagogy both online and in class. 

Breakout Sessions

During breakout sessions with panel discussions, exercises and demonstrations, faculty and staff discussed and shared anecdotes regarding the incorporation of technology in their work.  

“What’s your game plan?” Ms. Janey Flanagan, Director of the E-Learning Center, asked attendees of her breakout presentation, urging faculty and staff to meet students in the game world through ludic learning. Meanwhile, Prof. Michelle Hollitz, Developmental Skills, admitted, “I encourage students to use phones in class to contribute to class discussion.” Prof. Hollitz presented on conducting “Technology Background Probes” to assess students’ prior knowledge of subject matter and ability to use technology. “This tells students if they are ready for the course or tells instructors if you need to make adjustments,” said Prof. Hollitz.

In another session Prof. Jaewoo Lee, Mathematics, demonstrated how Geo-Gebra creates dynamic Mathematical Movements to aid math instruction. “I sometimes feel that students need visual representation to understand mathematics topics” said Prof. Lee.


Mr. Warrington Hudlin, film, TV and internet producer, was interviewed by Mr. John Gallagher, Director of the Media Center, to provide the keynote discussion that rounded out the day’s events. Mr. Hudlin is known for films such as House Party, Boomerang, and Bebe’s Kids.

Making its way around the room during the discussion was a heavy, antique 3 minute video camera, which Mr. Hudlin compared to the portability and convenience of cell phones with video capabilities today. In the discussion, Mr. Hudlin detailed the journey in the development of media, and film and equipment used in production from yesteryear up to today. 

“Media works best interactively,” Mr. Hudlin noted, qualifying the success of video games and social networking sites like Youtube with their interactivity. “Talk directly to the viewer,” Mr. Hudlin said, “they will tell you what they like and don’t like.” Mr. Hudlin discussed how the production of movies and the ways we view them have evolved with time. He contrasted the traditional production of movies with independent films on Youtube that have garnered great success. He had the audience reflect on “seeing stories unfold over time vs. watching the entire season at once on Netflix,” pointing out how media today allows us to “be flexible and fluid.”

Technology Day ended with a raffle drawing with prizes donated by Instructional Technology, E-Learning Center, Tokoyo Bay Restaurant, Marabou Cosmetics, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, and the Division of Student Affairs.

Technology Day was organized by the BMCC Technology Day Committee:

Elizabeth Chaney (Speech, Communication and Theater Arts), Yan Chen (Computer Information Systems), Dorothea Coiffe (Library)(Co-Chair), Kay Conway (Business Management), Miriam Delgado (English), Brahmadeo Dewprashad (Science), Peter Dinh (Public Affairs), Donna Dickinson (E-Learning Center), Leticia Dinkins (Instructional Technology), Wilbert Donnay (Accounting), Howard Entin (Financial Aid), Janey Flanagan (E-Learning Center), Roger Foster (Social Sciences), John Gallagher (Media Center), Deborah Gambs (Social Sciences), Yakov Genis (Computer Information Systems), Michael Gillespie (Dean of Academic Affairs), Racquel Goodison (English), Bettina Hansel (Institutional Research), Carlos Hernandez (English), John Huie (Instructional Technology), Mark Jagai (Mathematics), Gus Kaneopoullos (Instructional Technology), Michael Kent (Mathematics), Leonid Khazanov (Mathematics), Geoff Klock (English), David Krauss (Science), Tom Lew (Instructional Technology), Victoria Mondelli (Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning) (Co-Chair), Kanu Nagra (Library), Melinda Neus (E-Learning Center), Kathleen Offenholley (Mathematics), Alicia Perdomo (Modern Languages), Alex Pereira (E-Learning Center), Colin Persaud (Computer Information Systems), Elisa Pigeron (Developmental Skills), Benjamin Powell (Speech, Communications, and Theatre Arts), Li Qiu (Instructional Technology), Lisa Rose (Social Sciences), Manawendra Roy (Computer Information Systems), Ruru Rusmin (E-Learning Center), Samuel Sackeyfio (Mathematics), Anita Samuels (Events Office), Jason Samuels (Mathematics), Nadia Sandy-Bruce (College Computing Center), Mary Sepp (Developmental Skills), Tom Volpe (Public Affairs), Lisa White (Media Center), Cynthia Wiseman (Developmental Skills), and Zhanna Yablokova (English).