Category Archives: classroom design

Embracing the Millennials’ Seamless Embrace of Technology

From the blog post by Mark McVay via The Chronicle of Higher Education

An interesting and very short article about how we might consider re designing the traditional lecture theatre to accommodate current and future students.

“But maybe the most serious consequence of the digital revolution is that it is redefining the social aspect of learning. Millennials (today’s student) take digital technologies and improvements for granted. Chatting, texting, and network-gaming environments create global interaction. The impact of all this on learning spaces is subtle, but significant. Whereas previous generations use electronics primarily on an individual basis, Millennials see them as opportunities for dynamic social interaction. Clusters of students huddle around a computer sharing ideas—and approaching full immersion.”

And I like the idea of the ‘public square’ approach: “Classroom-planning models that focus on maximum efficiency often fall short in supporting impromptu student clusters, an aspect of interaction that these students take for granted. The old notion of a public square can now be recreated in multiple locations throughout a campus—even in the classroom. Architects must plan environments that support more information throughput, and thereby improve the quality of learning.”

“How can architects and planners create academic spaces that respond to this changing culture? Should we create a wireless, networked “dinner theater” space with tiered seating and lounge furnishings? Or perhaps a spherical classroom arrangement mirroring the multi-user interaction—student to student, row to row, and instructor to students? Both of these ideas illustrate challenges to the static monologue of a traditional classroom. ”

In a sense it is much more than being about classroom design since it is about enabling the new learning experiential learning experience – it’s more about curriculum design than anything else. This brings to mind an earlier post (Sustained Blogging in the Classroom) which considers how the act of blogging is part of the bigger picture of conversation and as such both the curriculum and the classroom needs to be designed to support it, (in this case the tutor redesigned their classroom to look like something similar to a Starbucks coffee lounge to support conversation started in the class blog).