Modern university educators are embracing the Active Learning Classroom, where students not only learn from their professor, but also discuss topics in student-led groups, practice new skills with their peers, and present discoveries to the class. Integrated technology is a critical component to the Active Learning Classroom.
However, it’s not enough to simply purchase new technology equipment. Universities interested in integrating technology into the classroom need key stakeholders involved in the design process. If you’re considering the transformation to Active Learning Classrooms, be sure to get input from 3 key parties: Professors, Instructional Designers, and your own IT Department.
Effective higher ed design starts with the professors and teaching assistants. They have the most intimate understanding of the flow of teaching and the needs of their students. Meet with instructors, and ask: How do you envision teaching in an active learning classroom?
Instructional Designers work with professors to design effective courses, to manage online web portals, and enhance physical learning environments. They will have strategies on how technology can enhance the learning experience, as well as considerations on how it could distract from learning. They are an important voice in higher ed design of learning environments.
It’s important additional classroom technologies are:
While professors and instructional designers might have wishlists for their dream classroom setups, ultimately integrating technology into the classroom requires the support of the IT department. With security as a top concern, IT needs to protect the internal network from unauthorized external access. Technology-driven environments can increase traffic load, especially if the networks are outdated. IT may need to upgrade its infrastructure to handle more students and teachers accessing the network for wireless presentation functionality. These updates can be easy to overlook but will play an important part in budgeting the project.
It’s important to have clarity between the AV integrator and IT department early in your planning process. Be ready to answer questions like:
Integrating technology into higher ed classrooms takes proper planning and input from key stakeholders, so it’s important to approach the process methodically. Not every classroom space is the same, and it’s easy to get caught up in how the technology environment “should” be set up. Stay focused on the end goal – an improved learning experience for students – and the right set up for your active learning classroom will come together.