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Digital knowledge at your fingertips

Eighth annual event spotlights emerging trends in technology and higher education

USC’s eighth annual Teaching With Technology conference made the most of the university’s strengths in digital media, informatics and communication under the theme “Digital Knowledge Across the Curriculum.”

Hosted by Information Technology Services, this year’s conference, which highlights emerging trends in technology and higher education, demonstrated new educational uses of digital media and informatics for more than 150 faculty and staff from 18 schools and departments.

The program was designed in conjunction with Digital USC, a $1 billion university initiative in informatics and digital knowledge announced by USC Provost Elizabeth Garrett in September.

Robert Hernandez, professor of professional practice at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, demonstrated an augmented reality (AR) tool designed by students in his “Augmented Reality & Journalism” course.

Using an AR app called Junaio, Hernandez’s students augmented content within the Los Angeles Central Library. Once downloaded to an iPhone, the app opens the iPhone camera, and when held in front an object or location within the library, pulls up curated historical information about the object onto the user’s phone.

For example, when the app is held up to a memorial statue of a torch that sits within the library, the user will see information, including photographs, news articles and video related to the 1986 fire that nearly destroyed the library.

Top technologies for the classroom

Other objects in the library digitally augmented by Hernandez’s students include a ceiling mural, books from special collections and a puppet show stage (holding the app up to the stage pulls up a digital recording of the show to the user’s phone).

According to Hernandez, the class was among the first in the nation to use AR as a tool for journalism.

John Wilson, director of the Spatial Sciences Institute and Daniel Warshawsky, a lecturer in the institute, showcased how spatial sciences students use ArcGIS, an online, interactive map-building tool, to create interactive maps for research and storytelling purposes. The maps are published online and can easily be shared to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

In a technology “show and tell” closing out the day, instructors from a variety of departments showcased their favorite technologies to use in the classroom. These included the incorporation of blogging into communications assignments using Blackboard’s blogging tool, as well as a video blogging component powered by YouTube.

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