It helps me focus better. It’s easier to come into this class. I feel comfortable being in an environment like this.
Ella Nikolettou, ’27, is eager to make technology an integral part of her education. And she’s discovering the benefits first-hand through a new tech-infused classroom
“It helps me focus better,” said Ella, a computer science major taking an interdisciplinary course in Bridgewater State University’s new active learning classroom. “It’s easier to come into this class. I feel comfortable being in an environment like this.”
During a recent class meeting, Ella and her groupmates connected a laptop to one of the large monitors to collaboratively build a poster about what they value in a career.
The assignment, which is part of a course that challenges first-year students to think about their college journey and beyond, is just one example of how the new room transforms education. In addition to the monitors, it features digital and traditional white boards, virtual reality headsets, and a video conferencing system for hybrid class instruction and remote guest speakers.
“We wanted to create an innovative classroom to allow faculty to try out emergent technologies,” said Eric LePage, ’98, G’06, executive director of the Teaching and Technology Center.
Traditional classrooms have a front of the room with a large projector screen and student desks oriented toward the screen. In the Active Learning Classroom, desks, chairs, whiteboards and monitors are on wheels, making it easy to change the room into unique arrangements.
Dr. Susan Eliason, who teaches the interdisciplinary class, has students sit facing each other.
“It allows for building community by sitting in smaller groups versus sitting facing the instructor,” said Eliason, a professor of elementary and early childhood education. “It signifies that the learning isn’t just coming from me. They are also sources of knowledge.”
For her students, who were strangers at the beginning of the semester, the room structure and collaborative nature of the course helps them make deeper connections with their peers.
"This class seems a lot more welcoming,” said computer science major Joe Sica.
The room is also structured so there’s no bad seat, said Hope Venkitachalam who sometimes strains to see content projected in a traditional classroom.
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