Eugene McDermott Library Opens New Smart Rooms

A ribbon cutting and dedication on Sept. 24 will formally debut the Eugene McDermott Library‘s new smart rooms, giving students access to the most up-to-date innovations so they can collaborate with their classmates no matter what device or system they use.

The ribbon cutting will take place on the third floor of the library at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 24, officially opening the doors of the new rooms. The upgrade of two of the library’s traditional study rooms into high-tech smart rooms is a result of a partnership between the McDermott Library, the Office of Information Technology and Taurus Technologies.

The Armadillo Room (2.512) on the second floor of the library and the Jalapeño Room (3.602) on the third floor give students a new place to engage on presentations and class projects. The share system allows wireless connections of laptops, tablets and smartphones for collaborating and saving files created during a session.

The old whiteboards in the rooms were replaced with 70-inch interactive displays that allow students to annotate with a digital whiteboard. The display in the Armadillo Room also has a camera, allowing students to record video and share files for class presentations.

“This is your flat-screen TV, your white board and your projector all rolled into one,” Tyler Rittenhouse, Regional Manager at Newline Interactive, said to McDermott Library staff during a demonstration of one of the displays recently. “Basically, it’s like an Apple TV on steroids. It essentially gives you the built-in Apple TV-type capability, just with way more functionality for all the devices that are wirelessly connected.”

“You might have several students with things on all different devices—maybe one with something on his iPad and a couple of students who want to show their peers a PDF on their laptops. Instead of everyone plugging in their computers, everyone can wirelessly connect and share their content after opening up the software.” Rittenhouse said.

The number of devices that can connect to the interactive display is unlimited; however, no more than four AirPlay devices, such as Apple tablets or phones, may connect at one time. “More than four AirPlay devices slows down the system,” said Jean Vik, Associate Library Director for Systems.

Library administration added the collaborative and smart technology spaces for students following a survey conducted last fall which indicated that is what students desired.

“We realized students wanted more space to engage in group activities with more accessible technology resources,” said Dr. Ellen Safley, Dean of the Eugene McDermott Library.

“The generation of students who are entering the University now is really the first to have never known life without the Internet. These students routinely use all kinds of electronic devices, all at the same time, and are old hands at figuring out how new technologies work. These are the students who want to come to the library to sit comfortably and do their homework and also have collaborative space that allows them to engage with their peers, if needed, to get their work done,” Safley said.

To reserve a study room, go to the library’s website. The Armadillo and Jalapeño rooms may be reserved by current UT Dallas students Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Room keys can be checked out at the Services desk. A stylus, USB cord and HDMI cord are also available for checkout.

Page Last Updated: September 17, 2018