What do you think of this classroom?

Panoramic View of Cremona 101 Active Learning Space Classroom

Student Thoughts on Active Learning Space

I am teaching an educational technology course in SPU’s new active learning space classroom.*  The course is taught in a blended format so we will spend about 30% of the instructional time face-to-face in this classroom.  That works out to be three three-hour sessions. In our first face-to-face class meeting I asked “What do you think of this classroom?” Here is a quick summary of their responses. (Keep in mind that most of these students are K-12 teachers.)

Pros

  • Ability to write on any wall
  • Easy to reconfigure furniture
  • Adult sized chairs
  • Digital clock
  • Spacious room for 20+ students
  • Students placed in a position where they have to interact with each other
  • Can show an individual table’s display to all other tables
  • Erasers and markers for all tables.

Cons

  • Placement of displays, not easy to watch screen and instructor at same time
  • Can’t post student work on the walls
  • Can’t write in other classrooms
  • Chairs are not kid friendly
  • High maintenance walls
  • Spacing of tables – need more separation between groups
  • Instructor’s display in the way – Need it to lay at an angle where it does not block line of sight
  • Where to look – Students don’t know where to focus their attention
  • Lack of central power for laptops. Have to use power strip connected to wall
  • Temperature and air noise in the room

These are insightful comments after only three hours of use. But then again, they are teachers. They dream about the ideal classroom all the time. Cremona 101 is not it… at least not yet.

What are your thoughts?  Do you have ideas of how we can improve this classroom or version 2.0 in another learning space?

* You may need to install or update Silverlight if you are unable to view the link above that takes you to a panoramic view of the classroom.

  1. February 9, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    David-
    One other thought…as the convergence of the TV, telephone and the computer continues…it might be good to keep in mind the ideas of connected TVs, second screen learning experiences, and social-based learning. The presentation I did recently might help here:

    http://bit.ly/wWoCHY

    Like

    • February 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm

      Thanks Daniel. I would like to hear more about the latest in second screen learning experiences. We’ve had some success using an HDMI card with a PC and Apple TV to create a collaborative environment where anyone in the group with an iOS device can “steal” the screen and share an idea. However, right now this active learning classroom has a VGA cable with a choice of dongles for each screen. There is downtime each time someone new wants to share their screen. Being able to do all of this without wires could make screen sharing a normal part of collaboration. Any ideas?

      Like

  2. Ryan Ingersoll
    March 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I am curious what is meant by the chairs not being kid friendly.

    Like

    • March 6, 2012 at 10:11 pm

      This was a comment made by an elementary school teacher as I asked my students to consider how this classroom would work for their own students. Her concern was that the chairs were on wheels and the seats swiveled, great for adults but trouble for kids. 🙂

      Like

  3. bgibson135
    April 16, 2012 at 8:19 am

    — Although the first iteration of the Logitech Revue wasn’t a success, being able to switch between HDTV and the Internet was nice. It had a full-sized keyboard (RF wireless), light but sturdy, and with mouse pad interface. “Stealing” the screen was as simple as passing the keyboard device.

    — Perhaps having multiple USB dongles (micro, mini, Apple) from the center of each table cluster would be nice to supply power for the various possible mobile devices that students might bring.

    — Another thought is being able to supply wireless Bluetooth keyboards. A student could bring their iPad and with the full-sized keyboard actually take notes. Unfortunately, Android devices don’t have a good Bluetooth keyboard driver “standard,” but once they do, then an EVO or other smart phone would be as good a device to take notes on.

    Like

    • April 19, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      Good thoughts here Bill,

      Thanks for sharing. One of the requirements of “screen steeling” would be sharing the screen from your own device. This works really well with iOS devices now. Mountain Lion is suppose to support this as well. We just need solutions for Windows and Android. One other option we are looking at is the EPSON BrightLink 485Wi projector. This would give us wireless support for Mac OS, iOs, and Windows. I think we could live with this. Plus we don’t have to clean up the marker mess after class. Thanks again for sharing.

      Like

  4. Dan
    February 13, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Have a room similar to this with idea paint on the walls, 3 brightlink interactive projectors, one regular projector and two LED TV’s. all can be controlled wirelessly and content thrown ( or mirrored across display devices.) use a number of products all less than $100. Air server app, doceri, epson easy MP, splashtop, AirPlay, iprojection and others.

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    • February 13, 2013 at 11:05 am

      Hi Dan,

      It sounds like a great room. I would love to see pictures. We use an Epson Brightlink 485 in another space along with Apple TV to allow for collaborative “screen stealing” during training sessions. Are students able to quickly pick which projector they screenshare with? Can they share to all three at the same time? In classrooms without the Apple TV I use AirServer to share my iPad on the projector through my MacBook Pro. Do you have a favorite screen sharing app? Do you run into enterprise network issues?

      As for the whiteboard paint, we have a level three drywall finish in the classrooms so the walls can get pretty dirty during the week. Do you have this issue?

      Like

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