Nationwide AV successfully implemented a significant Active Learning Classroom pilot project for the University of Toronto Mississauga
The Active Learning Classrooms were designed by The HIDI Group under the direction of principal Ward Sellars, in conjunction with UTM. They were modelled after similar projects at Harvard and Stanford Universities. According to Stanford, Active Learning is:
“Anything that involves students doing things and thinking about the things they are doing”. Active learning requires students to meaningfully interact with the course content, think about meaning, or investigate connections with their prior knowledge. Active learning can include a wide range of experiences and activities such as small group work, debates, problem-based learning, or large class discussions. It is most effective when it involves more than one instructional strategy. Rather than being expected to sit and listen, students are encouraged to think critically about the information, interact with others, share their thoughts, and create new ideas.
The classrooms look more like cafeterias than a traditional lecture theatre, each featuring twelve round 6-seat tables spread across the room. The instructor is based at a sophisticated instructional center offering motorized height adjustment to ensure both comfort and eye contact with the students.
Each student table is associated with a projection screen or monitor on an adjacent wall, and every student can share and interact with content on their group’s display using either a Crestron AirMedia wireless or hardwired connection.
The instructor can send instructional content to any or all of the 12 student displays, as well as share any student-generated content with the entire class. High resolution Sony pan/tilt/zoom ceiling cameras are used to monitor student activity as well as engage remote participants.
Nationwide was pleased to have participated in such a ground-breaking pilot project. Technically, the Active Learning Classrooms were an extremely challenging implementation. In addition, this was the first time UTM had implemented wireless presentation technology, requiring close coordination with the IT network and security staff. And, because of its pilot status, there needed to be constant interaction between the instructional staff and our programmers to ensure such complex systems were simple and intuitive to use.
In 2019 additional Active Learning Classrooms were rolled out in UTM’s new North Building, subsequently named Maanjiwe Nendamowinan or “Gathering of Minds”. Nationwide AV was once again selected to implement the advanced classroom technology, this time designed by SpecTech under principal Michael Spencer.
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