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Academic Technology Services staff aim to provide you with technology in classrooms and learning spaces on campus that is flexible, easy to use, and reliable. The Academic Technology team would be happy to work with you one-on-one to consult about your classroom technology needs, show you how to use classroom resources, or design learning experiences for students that make use of classroom technologies.

Principles for Designing Teaching and Learning Spaces

In designing and implementing “smart” classrooms and technology-enabled learning spaces at Clark, ITS partners with Physical Plant to implement designs that reinforce four of the five Benchmarks for Effective Educational Practice [1] as noted in the National Survey of Student Engagement data. These Benchmarks include:

Students learn more when they are intensely involved in their education and are asked to think about and apply what they are learning in different settings. Collaborating with others in solving problems or mastering difficult material prepares students to deal with the messy, unscripted problems they will encounter daily during and after college. Informal and formal learning environments should allow students to work together: learning by doing, reflecting and learning through conversation.

Design principles we employ to reinforce this:

  • In formal and informal spaces, furniture should be easily movable and sturdy enough to be moved often;
  • In classrooms, surfaces should be appropriate for student work and materials;
  • Acoustics should allow for productive interaction and collaboration: sound zones should support having multiple conversations without creating an unbearable din;
  • High speed campus network access for laptops and tablets.

Students see firsthand how experts think about and solve practical problems by interacting with faculty members inside and outside the classroom.

In practice we embody this by creating:

  • Public learning spaces that allow students and faculty to meet and share ideas.
  • Classrooms that allow for individuals to move easily throughout the room, interact with students 1-1, in small groups or in a large group.
  • Teaching/instructor stations that are movable and don’t have to be “between” the faculty and students as a physical barrier.
  • Screens that project images large enough for all participants in class to see details of the image presented.
  • A variety of built-in inputs (computer, laptop, Blue-Ray, DVD, VHS) as well as inputs for devices that faculty or students may bring to class with them (such as cameras, microscopes, etc.).

Complementary learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom augment the academic program. We embody this principle making technological affordances such as:

  • technology enabled group study rooms in the library and residence halls;
  • “teaching” and open access computer labs for hands on work with up-to-date discipline specific software;
  • document cameras;
  • web-meeting software support and video conferencing hardware;
  • loaner equipment to enhance multimedia and new media project work.

Students perform better and are more satisfied at colleges that are committed to their success. Teaching and learning spaces must support student ability to effectively engage in their studies as individuals as well as through engaging with faculty and with one another. We do our best to make sure that the classrooms are:

  • always operational during academic session;
  • clean and pleasant feeling;
  • well lit.

When there is a problem, we address it as quickly as possible.

If you would like to give us feedback about classrooms or classroom technology, please contact Joanne Dolan.

[1] These principles are freely adapted from: Benchmarks of effective educational practice. National Survey of Student Engagement [.pdf], Retrieved September 12, 2008.

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