In our new building in the Gymnasion we have at our disposal two ‘collaboration rooms’, or ‘active learning rooms’. Both equipped with ‘weConnect’. This will be in the rooms GN00.220 and GN01.220. The traditional classroom setting has been replaced with a set of group tables (7 or 8) with a display for each table for students to work at together, and a classroom display (and table) for the teacher. The teacher’s role becomes more of a coach while students will mostly work together in their group, at their own pace, supported by the teacher who’s moving from table to table.
Typically at the start of a lecture, sometimes towards the end, the teacher locks the displays at the group tables so that students focus on the main classroom display. The teacher can use wireless presentation (WiFi) to instruct the students or give a summary.
When the students are allowed to start working at their tables, the teacher unlocks the group table displays which show instructions to connect the students own devices wireless to their group table display (BYOD: e.g. smartphones, tablets, laptops). The display is a 60’’touch monitor, for the teacher the display is an 80’’touch monitor. For each group the content of their own device can be shown on the touch monitor, max. 4 at once, so it is easy to share their work. Connected to these displays there will be a PC for each group and there will be white boards as well.
At this point the teacher visits each table and coaches the students at that table. At any time the teacher has the option to check the displays of other groups in the browser interface on his own device. This makes it easier to decide which group needs help, especially in larger rooms where the teacher cannot see all group tables easily.
The power of weConnect lies in the bi-directionality of the system: a teacher can send the content from one of the group tables to the main screen at any point in the lecture. This allows the teacher to interrupt the class session to discuss the work of one group.
With a single push of a button the teacher can also push this information to every other student table as well, allowing all the students to view the details of the shared information of the first group.
Towards the end of the class the teacher invites student groups to present the results of their work. Additionally you can compare the results of multiple groups at the same time by adding their contents to the main display and sharing this with the displays at the student tables.
Combined with the interactivity tools (e.g. quizzes, polls, silent questions) a collaboration room creates a powerful and engaging experience for all involved.
All displays are interactive screens, 60”at the group tables and 80”for the main display. For each display a PC is also ready to use.
In the near future we will organize workshops (especially for teachers) about working with interactive screens and about how to use an active learning room. Hopefully we can show you some user cases and best practices. Please let us (firstname.lastname@example.org) know if you are interested and if you already have experience with one or both.
Sources and more information:
- weConnect: https://www.store.barco.com/weconnect/
- active learning classroom: https://cei.umn.edu/support-services/tutorials/active-learning-classrooms