‘Classroom of the future is here today:’ Generous gift opens doors for YSU

Prominent neurosurgeon Dr. Chander Kohli donated $1.1 million to Youngstown State for live video classroom technology

Kohli donation to Youngstown State for classroom technology

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – There’s a lot you can do with $1.1 million and Youngstown State has decided to invest it in the latest technology for classrooms.

Prominent Youngstown neurosurgeon Dr. Chander Kohli walked up to a podium Thursday afternoon to be recognized for his generous donation.

“The classroom of the future is here today and the Kohli family is proud to be a part of it,” he said.

Dr. Kohli’s donation will buy 18 Cisco Spark Stations, one of which was demonstrated in a live video conference with Dr. Lance Ford — a teacher in Howe, Oklahoma, which has a population of 800.

“The important thing about this tool is it’s interactive,” Ford said.

Dr. Ford told of how his junior high students couldn’t keep enough water in their aquaponics lab. So he hooked them up with an expert in Minneapolis.

“He said, ‘Could you draw out for me what you’re thinking?’ Now using this exact same tool that we’re using today, they came up front, started using their fingers, drawing out the diagrams,” Ford said. “Because he had access to it at his end, he began to draw right along with them, making suggestions, modifications.”

Afterward, some YSU students had the chance to work with a Spark Station. Someone wrote on the whiteboard while others viewed it through their phones.

“Technology sometimes, I feel, can be too overbearing and this is something that I can see in a prospective classroom,” said Brandy Watkins, a student.

“I actually thought that there was a camera, like a camera guy, that was following him around the whole time but there actually wasn’t. It was an actual camera and that’s really awesome,” said student Anne Secrest.

Everything used through Spark Stations is run and stored in a cloud-based system so it can be called up later and used by other students.

The classrooms where the Cisco Spark Systems will be installed will all be renamed the “Aneal Mohan Kohli Classroom of the Future,” in memory of Dr. Kohli’s late son.