Faculty, staff, students and the public are invited to USF Sarasota-Manatee’s second annual “Tech Showcase” to see how Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and other instructional technologies, including those recently introduced at USFSM, are changing how students learn.

The free event, scheduled for Aug. 22, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Campus Center’s FCCI Rotunda, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, is a great primer for new and returning faculty. Attendees will be able to explore new hardware and instructional software and test drive the latest VR and AR technologies.

Representatives from Microsoft, PlayPosit, zSpace, Blackboard, Newline-Interactive and other instructional technology companies will be on hand to assist with demonstrations and answer questions. An edible “apps bar” sponsored by Crestron Electronics will provide snacks and beverages.

Virtual Reality is already impacting learning at USFSM. Biology students use VR to learn about anatomy. The versatile technology can enable students to “hold” a human heart in their hands.

Also, the Common Read Committee, chaired by Instructor Librarian Jessica Szempruch, selected Ready Player One for incoming freshman students this fall. The science fiction book about a Virtual Reality universe is integrated heavily into the SLS 1107 Foundations of University Success introductory course.

As part of a grant to Szempruch and SLS 1107 faculty, four Oculus Go virtual reality units were purchased to allow students to apply critical-thinking skills during VR simulations, similar to the protagonists in Ready Player One. Szempruch will demonstrate the virtual reality headsets at the Tech Showcase.

Also, PlayPosit will show how its interactive video platform increases retention rates, enhances student satisfaction and ignites student creativity, while Microsoft unveils its latest tablets for faculty and students. Representatives will discuss accessibility within software and hardware systems as well as upcoming professional development opportunities.

As an additional service, staff from E-Learning Services – Timi Hager, Heidi Schroeder and Sarah Gentry – will demonstrate instructional technologies and offer assistance with Canvas, USF’s learning management system, to prepare for fall classes.

“This is an event you shouldn’t miss,” said Gentry, who chairs the Tech Showcase organizing committee. “We’ve been able to partner with top-notch instructional technology vendors to put this together. It’s really to show our faculty and students what technology we currently have and what instructional technologies they can integrate into their face-to-face and online classes for future semesters.”

Visit usfsm.edu/academics/academic-resources/e-learning/index.aspx for more about E-Learning Services. For more about USF Sarasota-Manatee, visit usfsm.edu.

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