Learning SpacesUncategorized

The Experimental Classroom at Uppsala University

I recently visited The Experimental Classroom at Uppsala University, as part of an Erasmus Trip. Built in 2010, the classroom encourages academics to rethink their teaching strategies.  The layout and structure of the classroom alone, creates an environment where students become more actively involved in their own learning.

Functionality

The room itself can hold 70-80 people. It is circular in shape, and the tables and chairs are usually set-up in small group formations. All furniture is foldable and set on castors (wheels), meaning that it can be quickly rearranged.

There is an interactive whiteboard in each corner, allowing students to break into groups and work on presentations together. An interesting example of how this method was used in teaching comes from the Archeology department at Uppsala. Each student group could collaborate on an image of a map onscreen, and present to the wider group at the end of the session.

Support

The technician responsible for maintaining the room is located in an office next door, meaning that he/she is always available should an academic need assistance during a lesson.
 

The room is booked through The Unit of Academic Teaching and Learning and IT Services. Educational Developers review all applications, ensuring that the rationale for using the space is pedagogically valuable. They will assist any staff who have fallen short of the requirements, by providing tips for enhancing the learning objectives.

I had the pleasure of working closely with Geir Gunnlaugsson, an Educational Developer, over the course of my three day visit. Geir has had a very positive experience of the Learning Lab over the last eight years. 

“It is great fun to receive students and teachers from the different disciplinary domains and see how they take on the space, and the technical resources, and adapt it to their subject matter. And how in the end it boils down to groupwork and interaction for learning, while the technology is simply a tool to facilitate this."

 Open Workshops are also held every Wednesday from 2:00-4:00, which provide a drop-in service for staff. Technicians and Educational Developers are present at these workshops to answer any technical or pedagogical queries.