Are Computer Labs Necessary in Today’s Schools?

Are computer labs necessary in today’s schools?

According to Cengage author Mark Frydenberg, the answer is yes, but not in the traditional way.

As BizEd Magazine reports, in 2017, “students have their own laptops, so they no longer need a place to connect to the internet or write papers. Instead they need spaces where they can experiment with new technologies.

That’s why, in 2011, Frydenberg spearheaded the development of Bentley University’s Learning & Technology Sandbox, also known as “CIS Sandbox,” for the computer information systems department.

He tells BizEd, “When I was asked to take over the lab in 2010, I was reluctant because it wasn’t a place where I wanted to spend my time. But then I started thinking about what the future of computer learning could be.”

The Sandbox replaced the old computer lab, a traditional space with 40 computer stations, gray carpeting, gray furniture, and no windows, as described by BizEd. With the help of University funding, the space underwent a complete renovation, “replacing the computer stations with six U-shaped tables with monitors for group work, wall-mounted display monitors, and soft chairs for lounging.”

How is the CIS Sandbox used? Frydenberg says it provides IT tutoring, exposes students to new tech, and hosts speakers, workshops and other programming, and gives students a place to study and socialize.

It’s popular, too. The article notes that more than 3,000 students spend time at the Sandbox each semester, and the admissions office, who once said “every school as a computer lab, so no one’s going to come to Bentley because of that space,” has now put the Sandbox on the tour for prospective students.

“Our mission at the Sandbox is to create a space where students can explore technology in a social way,” Frydenberg tells EdBiz. “Giving them the ability to play with the next up-and-coming technological tools or program an app—it’s a pretty powerful thing.”

Tell us what you think – Is a Sandbox the computer lab of the future?

MindTap Integrates Live Virtual Machine Labs for IT Students

Further preparing students to succeed in the high-demand field of computer and information technology (IT), Cengage and Practice Labs, a London-based edtech company, announced the integration of live virtual machine labs into MindTap last week!

Employment in the computer and IT space is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024 – faster than the average for all occupations. With Practice Labs integrated directly into MindTap, students are able to work with live servers and networking hardware from their web browser without leaving the MindTap platform, giving them the hands-on practice needed to develop and master skills that are immediately transferable to the workforce.

“Students love that they are working in a live environment with real servers and networks that they can explore, fail, try again until they succeed. Instructors love that the labs are already built and tested – and that they map to the certification objectives, the Cengage text, and their curriculum.,” said Ricky Doyle, CEO of Practice Labs.

To learn more about Practice Labs, and to see which MindTap courses have live virtual machine labs integrated into the Learning Path, click here.

Computing Student Advisory Team: We Want YOU

Teachers! Do you have highly motivated Introductory Computing students who might like to get involved with Cengage?

Students! Would you like to get involved with Cengage?

We have an exciting opportunity for students to partner with our Computing group as part of a student advisory team!

We are looking for students who are self-motivated with proven leadership, analytical, and communication skills, and are passionate about making a difference and helping others learn!

We’ll PAY students to…

  • Participate fully from August 2016 through May 2017
  • Develop real-world work experience (which looks great on a resume!)
  • Collaborate with students all across the U.S. in a team environment
  • Directly impact education products

Teachers – Recommend any of your students today! Please send us…

  • Student name
  • Student email
  • Why you think this student would be a valuable contributor to the Computing Student Advisory Team

Please send all recommendations to us by Monday, 8/15:

reed.curry@cengage.com

sarah.marks@cengage.com

amy.savino@cengage.com

Students – Email reed.curry@cengage.com, sarah.marks@cengage.com, and amy.savino@cengage.com for an application!

We’re excited to hear from you!

Cengage Named as Finalist at the Technology Council Leadership Awards

Mass Technology Leadership Council

Cengage has been selected as a finalist in the Mass Technology Leadership Council’s 19th annual Technology Council Leadership Awards for our MindTap platform! MindTap is a digital learning solution that helps instructors engage today’s students and transform them into critical thinkers using the power of personalization, cutting edge content, progress tracking ability, and student empowering tools. Intro Computing instructors and students can also utilize the power of the SAM app delivered within the MindTap platform. MassTLC Technology Leadership Award winners will be announced on Wednesday, September 14 at the MassTLC Leadership Awards Gala.

SAM June Release is Now Live

We are excited to announce that the SAM June release went live on June 26!

With this release, we now have a lot of great content available for SAM 2016 including:

  • Over 800 Office 2016 exam and training tasks, including tasks for Access, Excel, PowerPoint, and Word, and new applications such as OneNote and Windows 10
  • 161 Office 2016 SAM Projects for Illustrated, New Perspectives, Shelly Cashman, CMPTR, and Emerge
  • 39 Office 2016 Textbook Projects for Illustrated, New Perspectives, and Shelly Cashman
  • 29 Office 2016 MindTap Readers (eBooks)

We are also happy to announce new Keyboarding in SAM content and features including:

  • Keying drills for Lessons 1-25, including Timed Writings and Skill Building
  • Warmup, Timed Writing, and Practice Keying drills for Lessons 26-110
  • Word Drill Simulations for Lessons 26-28
  • Keyboarding Preferences at the Section level
  • MindTap Readers (eBooks) for Lessons 1-25 and Lessons 1-55

If you have any questions about this release or getting access to SAM 2016 content, please contact your Cengage Learning Consultant.

College Keyboarding Products have Published

     

We are very excited that the full College Keyboarding series has recently published. These new keyboarding products can be paired with our Skills Assessment Manager (SAM). Keyboarding in SAM is an interactive, online learning tool that can be used on its own or in conjunction with the printed text, giving you access to powerful teaching and course management capabilities while allowing students to work independently when and where they like. Keyboarding in SAM includes Keying Drills such as Warmups, Timed Writings and Skill Building, as well as Word Drills.

Contact your Learning Consultant for more information, especially about what is going live with the upcoming release of Keyboarding in SAM, or visit Cengage.com to learn more about these titles as well as our other product offerings.

Cengage and Codevolve Partnership

Codevolve

Did you catch the announcement earlier this spring about Cengage Learning’s partnership with Codevolve?

Cengage worked with the San Francisco-based ed tech company to integrate Codevolve’s computer coding environment into MindTap. The collaboration brings computer science and programming instruction to students through hands-on practice designed to teach users to write and run code. Five MindTap courses were released this spring with Python, Java and C++ Codevolve labs! Codevolve’s integration into MindTap is seamless, with no additional installation required. Students easily use Codevolve to code directly in the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) from their web browsers.

According to recent data from Code.org, there are more than 600,000 open computing jobs nationwide, but only 38,175 computer science students graduating to fill this need. Kristin McNary, product team manager at Cengage Learning, says that, “as job growth in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) continues to outpace job growth in all other areas, demand for computer science skills is on the rise. Preparing students for success in the workforce is paramount as we develop new ways to improve outcomes through our digital platforms.”

Intro Computing Summer Training Series

Introductory Computing Summer Training Series

Join Cengage’s Faculty Partners to get up to speed on SAM and MindTap before the start of your Fall classes. In this webinar series, fellow instructors will show you how to create a course, navigate the platform, create and schedule assignments, and more. Register for one of the sessions today!

SAM:
Thursday, June 30
Thursday, July 14
Monday, July 18
Thursday, August 11

MindTap (with integrated SAM assignments!):
Wednesday, June 29
Thursday, July 21
Thursday, August 11
Wednesday, August 17
Tuesday, August 23