Welcome to the Sandbox!

I was asked to write about why we created the Sandbox, its goals and purposes, how students will be using it, and what other universities have similar facilities. As we prepare for our grand opening on Monday, September 26, here are some insights into what we were thinking.

The CIS Learning and Technology Sandbox is the newly remodeled and re-envisioned “CIS Lab” located in Smith 234.

beforeThe term “Sandbox” in industry refers to an environment for experimentation and trying new things. That’s our vision – to create an inviting, collaborative space for exploring and learning new technologies, and to support student learning for our courses, in ways that resonate with today’s digital students. Outfitted so far with Google TVs, collaborative study spaces, large-screen TVS, a smart board, specialized networking equipment, as well as experimental software environments (such as Windows 8, and Linux) we have designed an appealing space for students to interact with new technologies. Microsoft, in support of our plans for this new facility, donated an Xbox and several software titles for students to use here. We hope this will further their interest in Information Technology.

afterThe Sandbox marks a formal transition from the individualized “computer lab” layout with computers around the perimeter of the room and students facing the walls, popular in the design of computer labs of the 1980’s and 1990s, to a more informal space where learning takes place around small tables or in a lounge setting.


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