To design a student-centered classroom, the University of North Carolina (UNC) brought in more interactive technology, writes Tim Goral.
In an article for University Business, Goral interviews Gary Kayye, a professor at UNC and president of rAVe [Publications], about the classroom.
The design of the classroom disrupts traditional teaching styles, Kayye argues. In the space, professors who usually rely on PowerPoint lectures will learn how to support a more student-oriented discussion, he says.
The classroom’s multiple interactive displays encourage students to ask questions and engage with the material on different mediums. For example, when a student asks a question during a presentation, the professor can easily pull up Google or YouTube without minimizing their presentation, Kayye explains.
As technology evolves, so must our teaching style and classroom design, Kayye argues. In reality, many professors are teaching a new type of student who has never lived without a smartphone.
It’s unrealistic to ask these students to leave that technology behind during class, Kayye says. Instead, institutions must find ways to integrate technology in the classroom and use it to complement the discussion, rather than distract from it, he adds.
For some universities, innovative classroom designs have increased attendance and retention, Diane Peters wrote in an article for University Affairs.
For example, Wilfrid Laurier University has an active learning classroom called the “green room” that consists of white boards on all four walls of the room, student screen projection capabilities, plus laptops and pods on each round table accommodating up to 40 students. Since the green room opened in 2012, Gavin Brockett, an associate professor of history and religion, has seen his attendance climb from 40% to 90% (Goral, University Business, 12/14/2017; Peters, University Affairs, 9/28/2016).
Open any newspaper or magazine, and you’ll find critics portraying higher education as allergic to innovation. Faculty members, the thinking goes, fall back on sleepy, lecture-based instruction, to the detriment of their students. Despite decades of research on what types of instruction lead to enhanced learning, few alternative models have made their way into college…