Hamilton campus tech whiz receives national acclaim

When Dino Giancola describes his role as a computer and media technician at Brock’s Hamilton campus, a common saying in the world of entertainment springs to mind.

“The show must go on,” said Giancola, who has previously worked in theatre around the world. “I think of every class as a performance. It should feel and appear seamless and well-rehearsed, never a technological struggle.”

Giancola was recognized this spring with a national award for his contributions in supporting technology and the classroom experience for Brock’s Faculty of Education.

At the 2017 CONNECT conference held in Niagara Falls in April, he received the CONNECTed Innovator Award in the technician category. CONNECT is billed as Canada’s largest education technology conference with upwards of 2,000 participants coming together to share best practices and ideas about education technology.

Giancola said he was humbled to find out supervisors Shannon Welbourn and Kyle Tuck had submitted his nomination.

“When I received a ‘Congratulations, you’re a winner!’ e-mail, I immediately deleted it,” he quipped. “But something in the message caught my eye that this just might be legit.”

Giancola considers himself fortunate that technology has always come naturally to him.

“I think that this stems from a simple, natural curiosity for how things work, whether natural or man-made,” he said. “Every day is different, which keeps things interesting and ‘fresh’ feeling.”

He initially combined his lifelong interest in technology with a music degree in hopes of working at the forefront of digital audio production and editing, providing technical advice to a range of artists, from filmmakers to performers.

That background has factored into his role supporting students, faculty and staff for the past two-and-a-half years at Brock’s Hamilton Instructional Resource Centre (IRC). Giancola is responsible for delivering and maintaining media and computing equipment and other educational technologies and providing computer support and assistance in the IRC and computer labs.

Tuck, a systems Administrator and technician at the Hamilton campus, describes his talented colleague as being innovative and passionate about classroom technology.

“Dino closely watches technology trends, particularly those relating to education, and assists faculty and instructors to model K-12 classroom tech integration for the teacher candidates,” he said. “He was critical to the implementation of the Makerspace within the Faculty’s Instructional Resource Centre that introduces teacher education candidates to a wide variety of teaching resources and strategies.”

Giancola has made a difference in the learning experience of individual students. For example, last year, he and Tuck collaborated to come up with a technical solution that would enable a student with a medical issue to participate in classes from home via video conference.

He has also developed and delivered workshops on 3D printing and 3D design to teacher education students.

“I’m enthusiastic about education, especially since the advent of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and the Internet. The marriage of technology and education are inextricably linked and enjoy a symbiotic relationship, ” Giancola said. “The faculty and staff are intelligent, thoughtful and very appreciative. We’re always trying to give students the best experience possible. They inspire me every day.”

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