Teaching Well With Technology

Congratulations to this year’s recipients of the Excellence in Teaching with Technology Award! Dr. Newton D’Souza and Dr. Peter Motavalli have been recognized for using technology to improve teaching at Mizzou and will receive a $500 stipend to further their pedagogical ambitions.

Newton D’Souza, Associate Professor of Architectural Studies, is pioneering the interactive classroom. Using virtual Socratic seminars and collaborative digital whiteboard concept maps, he engages both onsite and distance learners. An impressive system of multiple screens, microphones, cameras and software, developed by Dr. D’Souza himself, aid him in giving all of his students the best possible learning experience.

Newton is also exploring how creativity and technology interact. He is researching how situations where multiple skill sets are required allow for skill convergence and increase creativity. He is also experimenting with Virtual Reality Learning Environments, such as Second Life, as a teaching tool. As lead faculty member on two Mizzou Advantage grants on Media of the Future, he is working with others nationally to document the impact of new media on the creative process.

Peter Motavalli, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies of Soil Science, has his student’s success in mind when he packs his courses with valuable technological skills. Using internet resources such as wikis, blogs, and Google apps, Peter ensures that his students are prepared for a future where digital literacy is imperative.

Peter has also focused on making projects relevant to students. Using campus as a living laboratory, he lets students interact with real issues, and take advantage of vast local knowledge and database resources. He has even developed an interactive campus environmental mapping website, ecomapper.org, which allows students and faculty to access and contribute to environmental information and coordinate natural resource projects.