Three GGC Students Become Finalists in This Year’s Georgia STEM Education Awards in Classroom Technology

Lawrenceville, Ga., Oct. 3, 2013 – Three Georgia Gwinnett College information-technology students were finalists in this year’s prestigious Georgia STEM Education Awards in the Classroom Technology Category for their brand-new app advancing a widespread, student feedback system - the clicker - which enables teachers and professors to query students at a moment’s notice. The students – Robert Curtis, Derek Donaldson and Kyle Dornblaser - developed a no-cost, smartphone-, laptop- and tablet-enabled app, as an alternative to a dedicated device, and it is now being piloted in classrooms on campus. The app comes at a time when the number of Internet-connected mobile devices is quickly surpassing the world’s population and app downloads, via Apple’s app store alone, have hit the 50 million mark. 
 
Winners for the Georgia STEM Education Awards were announced at a special awards ceremony held in Savannah on September 27th. The awards were created to recognize and honor individuals and organizations for their outstanding effort and achievement in supporting and promoting STEM education in Georgia. The event is presented annually by the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), the state’s leading association dedicated to the promotion and economic advancement of Georgia’s technology industry, and the TAG Education Collaborative (TAG-Ed), a non-profit 501c3 dedicated to advancing STEM education in Georgia. 
 
The Georgia Gwinnett College students drew upon their knowledge of software development, system architecture, information technology, human-computer interaction and user-design experience to produce their app. “It is quite an honor for them to have made the finals,” said Dr. Evelyn Brannock, Assistant Professor of Information Technology in the School of Science and Technology.  “Georgia Gwinnett College is a relatively new college and part of our vision is that we embrace 21st century technology to help students learn. This certainly bolsters that mission statement.” 
 
Robert Curtis, 28, a software engineer with Eclipse Gaming Systems, is putting in 60 hours a week as a full-time employee and student at Georgia Gwinnett College.  He formerly served several years with the marines, in amphibious assault, and said, “There are a few commercial products that do the same thing as our software program, but they are more expensive and we are looking to integrate this clicker with a brain-computer interface (BCI).”
 
Students continue work on that companion technology, which is expected to measure emotional responses concurrent with manual responses via the clicker. 
 
“The intention is that the instructor gets a better capture of the mood of the class as they are interacting via the classroom response system,” said Dr. Robert Lutz, Assistant Professor of Information Technology in the School of Science and Technology. "Ideally, we'd like to be able to tell how sure someone is of his or her answer. The technology isn't there for this yet, but, as BCIs enter the consumer marketplace for fitness and gaming applications, we hope to harness that same sensing technology in the classroom. Through integration with our no-cost, 'bring your own device' clicker software, BCIs could provide instructors with deeper and more valuable insights into students' frustration and excitement levels in the classroom."
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