Flexible Classroom for Active Learning
21st Century students actively engage when given the opportunity to manage projects, have a hands-on experience with technology and complex machines, and solve problems through class-led think-tanks. Rather than learning about what is, digital natives respond better to learning about what is, what could be, and why? To address ongoing needs, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) elected to renovate Towne Building Room 327 into an active learning classroom.
The design allows instructors to engage students in large groups or small group activities–pairs or trios to ensure the participation of all. The audiovisual systems are designed to allow free flow movement of the instructor. Activities can be adapted to almost any discussion or lecture setting. The students work collaboratively to discuss and analyze the specific scenario/case, applying the information covered in a presentation to a situation they may encounter outside of the workshop. Students can briefly present their findings to other small groups or to the whole group or simply record ideas on an overhead/white board so that instructor can draw questions and synthesis from the material. Students can also develop (individually, in pairs, groups) their own work-based case studies and exchange them with others for discussion and analysis. The new space addresses the essential ideas of 21st Century Learning: CURIOSITY that leads a student through a desire to explore and the exploration inspires them to create; INNOVATION as exploration that recognizes needs and constructively exceeds them; FLEXIBILITY that enables individuals to tailor their experience to the range of their needs while emboldening them to stretch their comfort zones; and COLLABORATION, the collective learning that sparks connection and is at the heart of engagement.