iPads for use in the classroom, with this one projecting onto a classroom screen.

Classroom technology

New active learning pilot classrooms on campus

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9:10 a.m., Aug. 26, 2011--Imagine a classroom without a “front of the room” that predetermines how you teach. Imagine a setting where students participate fully in their work groups, and those groups collaborate easily with each other. Imagine orchestrating group work as you move around the classroom instead of being tethered to your laptop.

Imagine an iPad -- preloaded with software that supports your teaching -- is available in the room. You can use the iPad to wirelessly project to a screen, seamlessly mirroring applications, presentations and annotations. 

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But, most importantly, all your students are engaged in active learning.

Faculty at the University of Delaware no longer need to imagine. As advances in technology are changing the way students learn, classrooms are changing to keep pace.

An initiative is under way at UD to explore new classroom technologies that faculty can use to better engage their students and make better use of class time. This initiative, in two Gore Hall classrooms, explores the intersection of best teaching practices and emerging technologies.

The goal? The goal is to create a dynamic classroom environment in which every student is fully engaged and class time is intellectually invigorating. What is learned from the techniques and technologies used during the pilot period will greatly influence the design of future classroom spaces at UD. 

Where? Gore 218 (18 students) and Gore 310 (32 students).

When? Some innovations will be available for fall 2011 with the remainder planned for spring 2012.

Who? The beta pilot is being led by Information Technologies (IT) and the University Registrar. Faculty can participate by contacting the person in their academic department who is responsible for scheduling courses.

So, what makes these classrooms special?

  • Get the most out of group work -- With five displays around the room, faculty have the ability to divide the class into small groups. Students plug in their own laptops or a provided netbook and share their displays with the group. If a group has the right ideas, you have the ability to show their display to the rest of the class at the push of a button. 
  • Arrange furniture easily -- The new Node chair allows for maximum flexibility of seating arrangements for any style of learning. The chairs roll easily and feature an integrated desktop as well as an area for books and bags below. Students can move the chairs to suit a variety of learning configurations. Arrange the chairs in a seminar style, problem-based learning style or standard lecture style. 
  • Encourage student interaction using iPads and netbooks -- There's an app for that! Unlock the potential by using the iPads (in Gore 310) or the netbooks (in Gore 218) available for students. Students can collaboratively work on documents, research topics on the web and share what they've found with the class using wireless projection capabilities. iPads are installed with a UD note taking app called LiveMark for iPad. This app allows a student to use a finger to grab the current slide displayed by the instructor and annotate it. The notes are saved on the server and accessible outside the classroom for later review.
  • Leave your laptop in the office -- With an installed computer in the classroom, faculty no longer need to bring their own laptop to show a presentation. Just bring a USB thumb drive and plug it into the provided computer and you’re ready to go. Offered are the standard suite of UD supported applications such as PowerPoint, Excel and Word, as well as Acrobat Reader and Firefox. Need something else installed? Let IT know and they will do their best to accommodate the request.
  • Present easily with a document camera -- More versatile than an overhead projector, a document camera can literally project anything you place under it. Faculty can easily show pages from books, newspapers, objects, hand-written notes or clear acetate overheads. The camera head even articulates and can show large objects. The images are projected on the screen in the room and are usually brighter, have more clarity and better color reproduction than a transparency.
  • Write on the walls! -- With the ability to write on almost any wall surface, the classroom itself becomes a tool for learning. Faculty and students have the ability to spread out and use the specialized writing surfaces. Your teaching style is no longer limited by the confines of the blackboard.

Faculty who complete the classroom technology interest survey will be added to the mailing list for progress updates and preview invitations.

For more details about the active learning classrooms, visit the website.

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