At the RAU we have plans to improve some of our learning spaces and make them more student-friendly and better equipped for the type of teaching our academics would like to do. We have been exploring the options available and you may have seen our recent post on the Jisc digital classroom .
This week we have set up a rather large (72”) touch screen in the IT Service Desk area. The screen is on loan from Clevertouch and earlier today one of their team, Ashley Helm, gave us a demo of the main functionality.
There is lots to get excited about: from the interactive whiteboard screen which allows you to create varied notes using content from a variety of places (your devices, students’ devices, the cloud, the web), to the use of countless android apps, such as Google Earth.
Our academics seemed genuinely impressed and could see the potential of the screen for their teaching, especially some of the the annotation features, the split screen option and the the ability to use and freeze-frame video. The screen can be controlled using the touch screen but also through a remote control and devices if mirroring – so the person leading the teaching doesn’t need to stand at the front at all times. This new generation of touch screen could definitely make for much more innovative teaching approaches (such as using a visualiser and bringing class content up to the screen) and collaborative working among students.
I have also been discussing digital learning spaces on the HELF (Heads of eLearning forum) list and have been pointed in the direction of some useful resources including:
- UK Higher Education Learning Space Toolkit 10 case studies (https://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/learning-space-toolkit-case-studies) – I think the Aberdeen digitally enhanced learning spaces (DELS) may be the closest to what we are after.
- City University flexible learning spaces (https://www.city.ac.uk/visit/timetabling-rooms/flexible-learning-spaces) – Pictures of room set ups
- The SCALE up project at Nottingham Trent (https://www4.ntu.ac.uk/adq/document_uploads/teaching/181133.pdf) – Student-Centred Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies. Guidance used as part of the role out for their new classrooms. We will want to create something for our staff to help them understand the rationale for the classroom and how they can use it.
- UCISA Learning space toolkit (https://www.ucisa.ac.uk/learningspace) – Very interesting but 92 pages long!
- HELF meeting on Learning spaces (https://helfuk.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2017-12-01T13:08:00Z&max-results=1&start=3&by-date=false) – includes presentations from SCHOM, SCONUL, UCL and Birmingham.
- SCHOMS (https://www.schoms.ac.uk/) – SCHOMS is the professional body for Senior Managersworking within UK and Republic of Ireland Higher Education and its members lead and manage a diverse set of educational, technological, media and institutional development and support services.
We’re really keen to move towards classrooms that are flexible and inspiring, and that allow our academics and students to fully reach their potential. Thanks to everyone who is helping us with our research.