The ITx Rutherford 2019 Programme may change without notice
Student engagement and participation are vital components to the successful achievement of students. Currently, there has been significant interest in how learning spaces can help facilitate and improve learning. Research and educators around the world and within all sectors of education have started to explore how Modern Learning Environments (MLE) have resulted in a shift in how we design the modern classroom.
With this new shift, the focus is not being placed towards student-led learning, where interaction between the teacher and student is now more focused on peer interaction.
Fundamental to the reconceptualising of our teaching spaces, is that students need to be able to easily collaborate and share their learning. Designing effective spaces must blend effective pedagogy with the overall design of the physical room, supported by careful integration of technology.
Generally, most of the focus on MLEs has been on more traditional teaching classrooms. Overall, there has been little attention focused on how these changes flow into the reconceptualisation the computer lab environment. Today, many computer labs are still designed in very much the same way that they always have. There have been some isolated developments (such as Verhaart and Hagen-Hall, 2013) been generally thought the technology has changed, the general overall layout and approach have remained – namely desktop computers situated in rows or hubs. Due to the orientation of these rooms interaction is limited and teaching in these rooms can often be frustrating for teachers and students alike.
This article describes a recent innovation which was as a result of a project to reconceptualise the teaching spaces at one of the Polytechnics in New Zealand. One of these spaces included the redesign of their computer labs. The approach has been to move away from fixed computers towards BYOD, shared screens and a strong focus on supporting students to collaborate and share work within the class.
The article explores the overall approach taken and explores how the redesign has impacted the teaching within these rooms. Three reflective case studies are presented capturing the experiences and exploring the perspectives of three lecturers teaching within this computer lab. The focus of these cases is to explore how the redesign of the room has influenced the teaching within the rooms and explores how the alignment of pedagogy, room design, and technology has helped to facilitate an enhanced learning experience.
Eastern Institute of Technology
Kathryn MacCallum is an Associate Professor, Lecturer and Programme Coordinator of the Postgraduate Programme within the School of Computing at Eastern Insitute of Technology, EIT.
She has been a lecturer for over 15 years, having taught at a number of different tertiary institutions, teaching on both business and computing programmes and undergraduate and post-graduate courses. Her teaching is underpinned by her research, which is driven by her passion to be a better teacher and develop effective teaching practices using educational technology.