The five-year project, “A Living Laboratory: Redesigning General Education for a 21st Century College of Technology,” is being funded by a $3.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, and builds on several waterfront-related programs started in 2007, among them Gold's study on the importance of place in Walt Whitman's poetry.
The project will create a new digital platform for learning at City Tech, an updated curriculum, and establish an endowment to support the Center for the Study of the Brooklyn Waterfront.
“We're taking an approach to learning that utilizes the natural and built environments around City Tech - and their social cultural, environmental, political, professional and literary histories - as our classroom,” Gold said. “In doing so, we build on faculty expertise in place-based education and student interest in new technologies.”
The City Tech campus, at 300 Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn, is surrounded by historic neighborhoods - Fort Greene to the east, Brooklyn Heights and the waterfront to the west - that do offer students an unusual opportunity.
Not so long ago, laptops were discouraged in the classroom. They were seen as a distraction by many teachers. That thinking has changed, as teachers embrace multimedia and look for ways to expand the learning traditional experience.
City Tech is betting that through the school's digital platform and waterfront study center, students will use new tools to reinterpret the borough's rich history in meaningful ways. Who knew that Twitter and Fulton Ferry Landing could share something in common?
“City Tech's new digital platform will forge bonds among students between courses, deepening their engagement with course materials,” Gold said. “It will also make the shared intellectual culture of the institutions more visible to the College itself and to the wider public.”