On September 4th, My W435 class and I went to Cyber-infrastructure Building (CIB) here at Indiana University. The CIB is a group of buildings that houses the IU Data Center and the IU Innovation Center. Right off the 45/46 Bypass, the CIB gives IU helpful technology research, resources, and supercomputers, such as the new supercomputer Big Red 2.
From the beginning of the visit the building catches the eye. Inside and out the building has a very modern feel to it. Outside the windows are large panels that keeps the building cool in the summer and warm in the winter. As you walk in there is a large sphere that simulates visuals from four different projectors. The sphere can show images of the earth, to different flight patterns, even to a giant eyeball. This kind of technology can be used as a presentation device as well as a way to demonstrate data over a world or in a spherical shape. This piece of technology that is right in the middle of the building helps set the standard of its high technology influence and its powerful resources it has for teachers and staff.
Another piece of interesting technology was its large computer called “The Wall”. This was a massive computer screen made up of 20 large ultra-high definition televisions, hooked up to a powerful computer. The room is very open, with large tables and chairs to provide a very open work environment. The Wall can be used for many different reasons, it can be used by professors to teach lessons, to show large data sets, as well as showing extremely large high definition images on the screens.
Our next stop on the tour of the CIB took us to a small nook where the building showed off its multiple new technology toys, many of which are so new they are still in beta testing. It was extremely interesting to test out these new toys such as the Oculus Rift virtual reality simulator, Google Glass, Motion simulators, Large computerized SmartBoards, and 3D image capturing. It was extremely fun and interesting to play around with these toys and discuss what kind of implications they could have in the classroom. Many people described using Google Glass as a way to look up information on the spot if you did not know it, or using the Oculus Rift to take students of virtual tours of places they could never dream of going. While these toys are fun to play with, the importance is the way it is used in the classroom and whether it makes a large difference and brings a better experience for the students. However, experiencing this new technology opens my eyes to the future of how teachers and students can approach learning, teaching, and finding out new information.
The building is set up in a very open environment, which is perfect for collaborative work space, as well as open individual work space. I very much enjoyed the way the building was set up for its employee’s because that is what I would want to have my classroom as. While I would probably not have the same funding, resources, or technology that the CIB has, I still want my students to have many open work spaces that promote collaboration and open movement around the room.
The last part of our tour took us to the IU Data Center, a state of the art, partially underground block of cement that holds Indiana Universities super computers. In the building it houses two different sections, one section is for data storage for students and teachers, and the other side is for researching super computers. The super computers are extremely cool and very helpful for the university to have right next door. These computers help process research and data done by staff at the university as well as housing much of its data and information. I personally still do not understand super computers all that well, and it was piece of technology that I found the least helpful for an elementary school classroom, but the implications for a university or a research institution is extremely good.
I was very happy with my visit to the CIB in Bloomington and came away with new interests in new technology and classroom setups that can be very beneficial when I am a teacher. I would recommend everyone at Indiana University as well as anyone interested in technology to visit this building a take a tour of its ground breaking building and research.
Information for visiting the CIB is located below:
2709 East 10th Street Bloomington, IN 47408