Inside Active Learning Classrooms
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Inside Active Learning Classrooms

[music playing] What
I first thought was, “Wow this is really cool, this isn’t like any classroom
I’ve ever had before.” When the students first walk into this classroom it
sends the message right away that this is not
business as usual. You walk and in there are
these beautiful round tables and you instantly become
part of a team and you start to be responsible to
one another in that team to bring what you’ve learned
and to teach one another. There are connections at
each table that allow you to have three computers
at the large table. These computers are connected
to a monitor that the table owns and with just a tap
of a button one of the three computers
can be displayed on that. This is my first
class of the semester and I was just blown away that this is what a college
classroom could look like. The technology really
enhanced it I think for me because you could see
what they’re talking about up on the big screen. If you found something
you could show it to everyone else in the class. If i see something interesting
on one of these screens, I can send it to
everybody’s screen. So we’re able to
do peer evaluation of one another’s work
right on the fly. There was eight of us at a table
and you were with them everyday, so by the end of the
semester you were really close with those eight
people and it was great for interacting with them. I think the course
work we covered in this class was probably
a little more challenging than in most classes. But the classroom definitely
facilitated a much easier way to get everything done. We call this a concept
laboratory instead of a lecture and I look at it as a place where students bring what they
already know, what they learn from the textbook and they
use that to build new ideas, to build new connections,
build applications. One of the biggest aspects
of this course was teamwork. I think I probably learned
the most from my peers, just like bouncing
ideas off of each other and giving each other feedback. If you ever had a question
it was so easy to just turn and ask the person
sitting next to you. It was a lot more friendly
and open in this classroom than in other classrooms. It was a lot easier to
ask your peers for help. We all came into this classroom,
we were all mostly freshman. We didn’t really know
anybody and by the end of the semester I felt
like I knew the people at my table better than
I knew anyone else. That whole feeling, that you can
walk into a science classroom and there’s this immediate sense of community is quite,
quite special. The professor can walk
around and get to each table and make sure that they
interact with each student. When we were in here I’d always
be talking about that professor, asking questions, getting
feedback right away. I would come over and
interact with small groups of students rather than trying
to present some information to large groups of students
and it surprised me how easy that was to do and
how amazingly, I mean, amazingly wonderful
the students were. The kinds of solutions they
came up with were astonishing. I mean, I was really
inspired and awed by the kind of conversations
they were having. So I think it helped me
really understand students in a much deeper, better way. It was an amazing experience
getting to know people, getting to use higher
technology, using microphones, doing things that you’re
really not used to doing in a classroom setting
just made it a much deeper learning experience.

About James Carlton

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8 thoughts on “Inside Active Learning Classrooms

  1. oooohhhh technology. So what?! Sorry facilitraitors, individual learning trumps soviet style small group learning. Why are these failed methods being forced on students?

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