Inside Active Learning Classrooms

Uploaded by UniversityofMinn on 18.08.2010

[music playing] What I first thought was,
"Wow this is really cool,
this isn't like any classroom I've ever had before."
When the students first walk
into this classroom it sends the message right away
that this is not business as usual.
You walk and in there are these beautiful round tables
and you instantly become part of a team and you start
to be responsible to one another in that team
to bring what you've learned and to teach one another.
There are connections at each table that allow you
to have three computers at the large table.
These computers are connected to a monitor that the table owns
and with just a tap of a button one
of the three computers can be displayed on that.
This is my first class of the semester
and I was just blown away
that this is what a college classroom could look like.
The technology really enhanced it I think for me
because you could see what they're talking
about up on the big screen.
If you found something you could show it
to everyone else in the class.
If i see something interesting on one of these screens,
I can send it to everybody's screen.
So we're able to do peer evaluation
of one another's work right on the fly.
There was eight of us at a table and you were with them everyday,
so by the end of the semester you were really close
with those eight people and it was great
for interacting with them.
I think the course work we covered
in this class was probably a little more challenging
than in most classes.
But the classroom definitely facilitated a much easier way
to get everything done.
We call this a concept laboratory instead of a lecture
and I look at it as a place
where students bring what they already know, what they learn
from the textbook and they use that to build new ideas,
to build new connections, build applications.
One of the biggest aspects of this course was teamwork.
I think I probably learned the most from my peers,
just like bouncing ideas off of each other
and giving each other feedback.
If you ever had a question it was so easy to just turn
and ask the person sitting next to you.
It was a lot more friendly and open in this classroom
than in other classrooms.
It was a lot easier to ask your peers for help.
We all came into this classroom, we were all mostly freshman.
We didn't really know anybody and by the end
of the semester I felt like I knew the people
at my table better than I knew anyone else.
That whole feeling, that you can walk into a science classroom
and there's this immediate sense
of community is quite, quite special.
The professor can walk around and get to each table
and make sure that they interact with each student.
When we were in here I'd always be talking about that professor,
asking questions, getting feedback right away.
I would come over and interact with small groups
of students rather than trying to present some information
to large groups of students and it surprised me how easy
that was to do and how amazingly, I mean,
amazingly wonderful the students were.
The kinds of solutions they came up with were astonishing.
I mean, I was really inspired and awed by the kind
of conversations they were having.
So I think it helped me really understand students
in a much deeper, better way.
It was an amazing experience getting to know people,
getting to use higher technology, using microphones,
doing things that you're really not used to doing
in a classroom setting just made it a much deeper
learning experience.