Linear Algebra and Tom Ridge

<Left to right in picture:
Dave Hill, Art Papcostas (V.P. Computing at Temple), Tom Ridge (Governor of Pennsylvania)>

On October 12 Governor Tom Ridge was on campus. As part of the festivities that accompanied the formal dedication of the Tuttleman Learning Center Governor Ridge announced technology scholarships for Pennsylvania. (See the Temple Times October 14th issue for details on these 'SciTech' scholarships.) Prior to the announcement of these scholarships, Governor Ridge was to tour various technology centers at Temple and see first hand what the partnership of Temple and State funds created in the Learning Center.

My linear algebra class meets in Tuttleman on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and was selected for a possible visit by the Governor, Board of Trustees, University President, Provost, and the accompanying entourage, including media coverage. I was warned that the visit may not happen because such tours ordinarily run way behind schedule and hence are routinely cut short. Well, the Governor and the Temple luminaries did make it to class so we got a chance to meet the Governor and hear about the scholarship announcement a bit early. In fact one of the students requested a scholarship application on the spot. (Applications for the entire class were delivered within an hour.) As part of the 10-15 minutes the Governor spent absorbing linear algebra, I got to demonstrate the instructional facilities available in the classroom, which includes a PC which can be projected for class viewing, a document viewer for pages or transparencies, and other audio and video options. This equipment is connected through a touch sensitive control panel, which provides easy switching between media. There was a short time for a demonstration and discussion. The Governor asked several pertinent questions about the use of the equipment and faculty utilization. However, the best question, in my opinion, was 'How has the availability of such technology for instruction changed what you do as a teacher?' (Each of us as Temple faculty should answer this from a personal perspective.)  After thank yous all around, the class returned to the discussion of the linear algebra exam that had been returned that day.