Touch-Screens Give Campus New Info Portal

SOCORRO, N.M. February 22, 2012– The New Mexico Tech has taken the first step into the interactive world. The campus web gurus have installed two touch-screen televisions in the atrium of the Fidel Center that allow people to access the Tech calendar of events with the touch of a finger.

Director of Student Services Lillian Armijo demonstrates the new touch-screen technology in the atrium of the Fidel Center. New touch-screen monitors are scheduled to be installed in all academic buildings on campus in coming months.

“The idea is to walk up to the screen and be able to retrieve information on an interactive level,” said Gavin Torres, administrator with Tech’s Information Services Division. “This is just the first step. Eventually, we’ll get to the level where we’ll have maps and new software that allows self-guided tours and other features. We don’t want them just to be monitors to watch things. We want to use the touch-screen options.”

The effort has been collaborative, including Dr. Clint Lanier of the Communication, Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Department, and Morey Roof, also of ISD.

“Hopefully, we’ll expand it further to the point where it’s an integral part of campus life and a tool that everyone expects to be able to use,” said Torres, who earned his bachelor’s in management at Tech in 2010.

This pilot project, funded by ISD, is intended to be expanded to all academic buildings, including MSEC, Cramer, Weir, Workman, Speare, Jones, Jones Annex and Skeen Library. Administrative buildings, like Brown and Wells would follow.

Launched this week, one screen has been playing a video of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech from 1964 to commemorate Black History Month. Lillian Armijo, Director of Student Affairs, said she’s excited to have the new touch-screens and she expects to take advantage of the new kiosks to promote all student events.

“I’m excited to see the monitor because we can show videos, like the Martin Luther King Jr. speech,” Armijo said. “Students will get information that they might not receive otherwise.”

Armijo and Christina Anthony, career services coordinator, have been filming other videos that they hope to show on the monitors, including one from the Spring 2012 Career Fair and another from the Global Village Day event.

“If students weren’t at these events, they may not know what they’re all about,” Armijo said. “This gives students more information about what’s happening around campus and helps them prepare for different events.”

She hopes other departments on campus begin taking advantage of the touch-screen monitors as they begin appearing around campus.

Torres said the video screens will be used periodically to display timely videos like that, but the real purpose is to take advantage of the touch-screen capabilities.

Torres said he hopes students, in particular, but also faculty and staff, become more acquainted with the Tech website and the online calendar by having access to the touch-screen kiosk.

“This hopefully will be an incentive to get students to focus on technology aspect of the university,” Torres said. “We spend so much time learning about it in class,” he said. “We may as well use it on campus.”

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech