A new computer at the Mendoza College of Business brings a fresh meaning to the phrase “hands-on learning.”
Deloitte Consulting LLP has provided funding for the Management Department’s IT Management program to purchase a Microsoft Surface unit for use the classroom. It is the first such unit on campus.
The Microsoft Surface is a multi-touch computer that responds via infrared cameras and Bluetooth technology to natural hand gestures and real-world objects, helping people interact with digital content in an intuitive way. It has a flat screen that serves as a tabletop so that multiple users can stand around it and use their hands to “grab” and move digital content without using a mouse or keyboard. The screen can recognize objects placed on it, allowing users to move information between devices such as mobile phones or cameras.
Deloitte Consulting raised about $13,000 to purchase the product, which costs about $12,500. Kevin McCarter, a principal with Deloitte Consulting and a Notre Dame alumnus, led the effort, raising funds from alumni working at Deloitte. McCarter is a member of the Information Technology Management program’s Advisory Board.
The Deloitte Microsoft Surface unit, purchased in March 2009, has already been used in associate professor Matt Bloom’s spring 2009 Special Studies in Innovation course. Professional specialist Robert Lewandowski used it in his summer 2009 Information Technology Management Applications course. Associate Professor of Information Technology Management Robert Easley plans to use it in his Application Development course.
Professors were interested in acquiring this product because it is cutting-edge, and they want students to think of innovative ways to interact with computers, said Easley, assistant department chair in the Department of Management. Students are aware of touch-screen technology because many of them use iPhones, he added.
“For students who will program or design applications, I’d like them to think about making the experience more intuitive for users,” Easley said. “This device will help them understand what it is like to interact with a computer through touch. For other students, I hope it will give a sense that there are a lot of exciting things happening with technology that they are likely to encounter in the workplace.”
Visit http://www.microsoft.com/surface to learn more about Microsoft Surface.