Futuristic teaching today

Jacqueline Barr

 

Calculus and computer science teacher Scott DeRuiter uses self-built machine to help him teach

 

Futuristic teaching today from El Estoque on Vimeo.

Click play to see calculus and computer science teacher Scott DeRuiter teaching his sixth period calculus class. Video by Jackie Barr.

 

The door of computer science and calculus teacher Scott DeRuiter’s room is more than just a door—it is a portal into the future. Strapped to the teacher is a large contraption including a wireless keyboard and computer screen. DeRuiter successfully brings futuristic technology to the present and awes students and teachers alike.

DeRuiter uses a snare drum carrier, which usually holds drums during marching band performances, with a wooden structure attached to hold the keyboard and monitor that responds to a stylus. Essentially a computer attached to a drum carrier, the computer monitor displays the slides that are simultaneously shown through the LCD projector.  

DeRuiter uses his handmade $3000 device to help him teach calculus. What is essentially a computer allows him to maneuver around his classroom and fit his teaching style.

“I know the class was a bit surprised because we hadn’t seen anything like it before,” senior Rahul Nadkarni said. “But after he explained to us how he teaches and how he made it, we eventually got used to it and paid more attention to what he was teaching rather than the machine itself.”

With the new contraption came new software. DeRuiter made the device four to five years ago and the software and hardware he had at the time did not suit his purpose or teaching style.

“The computer runs Mathmatica, a program that can show exponents, fractions and limits easily,” DeRuiter said. “There is more than one way to solve a problem and I wanted it to be flexible and keep a record [of the way the problem was solved in class].”

Junior Craig Boman, who has never had a teacher use such advanced technology before, explains that although the device does not make or break the class, it is still beneficial.

“If it helps [DeRuiter to] engage us in his lessons, then sure, it helps us,” Boman said.