BHSU expands student learning by offering new technology in the library


Allison Geier-Barlow, Social Media Coordinator

BHSU recently added a space called the “Innovation Lab” in the E.Y. Berry Library-Learning Center, complete with 360 cameras, 3D scanners, virtual reality and 3D printing software.

“It’s a resource to provide newer technologies and make them available to faculty and students,” Aaron Bauerly, systems librarian and coordinator of the Innovation Lab, said.

This space allows students to experience and learn about technologies they may encounter in the workforce. Bauerly called the lab “a technology petting zoo.”

The Innovation Lab was started with the help of the previous library director and current provost of BHSU, who found the support needed to start it.

“The Innovation Lab was something that many people on campus saw was necessary and on the horizon for a while,” said Bauerly. “The idea of the Innovation Lab has expanded with faculty involvement and excitement. The faculty are coming up with ideas on how to use the lab in their courses.”

One faculty member used 3D printed horse teeth fossils to demonstrate the evolution of horse teeth, along with the evolution of grasses.

Another faculty member brought several education students to the lab. A student came up with the idea to 3D print pieces of Pangea to demonstrate the continental drift. The advantage of using these pieces versus paper was the addition of mountain ranges.

Skott Chandler, assistant professor of photography, uses the technology available in the Innovation Lab to progress student learning.

“We are preparing students for the future,” Chandler said. “That’s why we have technology like the 3D printer and virtual reality. We’re using the technology to create learning tools and allow students to experiment.”

Chandler recently helped shoot a virtual reality tour of the Sanford Underground Research Facility. The tour is currently being created and will be used as a proof of concept to help with grant funding. This tour will allow people who cannot experience the lab a mile underground to receive an interactive and engaging tour of SURF. The finished SURF tour will be similar to the interactive virtual reality tour of the International Space Station, which includes videos of scientists talking about the space and projects.

“We went underground, we took our 360 cameras, we started mapping out the areas and we’re making an immersive experience in that space,” Chandler said.

Both Chandler and Bauerly are involved with the Instructional Innovation Creativity and Engagement Committee at BHSU. The goal of IICE is to find different ways to bring technology into the classroom.

The Innovation Lab is open to all students and faculty Monday through Friday from noon to 4 p.m. in room 109 in the library. Students or faculty must contact Aaron Bauerly at [email protected] to schedule session outside of that time slot.

Updated on Dec. 10, 2018.