A different approach
With active learning, the emphasis is on students ‘doing’ rather than passive-consuming information. This helps to develop skills that are hard to hone in traditional classroom environments. As the focus shifts from the professor to the student, making the necessary changes may have potential pitfalls. In the lecture hall set-up, professors could find it difficult to engage students and place them at the centre of learning. On the other side, if a cutting-edge new space is designed for technology instead of pedagogy, it may be a wasted investment. For active learning to truly take hold, higher education institutions need to look at the whole picture and consider the students, the spaces, the tools and the technology.
Experts say go active
NACE (National Association of College and Employers) has identified active learning as one of the keys to preparing students for the workplace. Active learning, at its best, is motivating, meaningful and collaborative. It gives students hands-on practice at the skills they need – including critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving. To pave the way for a better education, a growing number of institutions are investing in spaces to enable this different kind of teaching and learning. The most effective active learning classrooms all have on thing in common – a clear focus on learning goals and student needs, which every time in the space reflect.
Active learning develops core soft skills
For colleges and universities looking to redesign classrooms to support active learning, new technology products, like Nureva Wall and Span Workspace, make it easier for educators to transform any space. The Nureva solutions are a natural fit for educators who want to bring active learning into their classrooms as the unique combination of cloud-based canvases, individual contributions from personal devices and expansive displays creates an ideal environment for collaborative learning. Now, students can use their hands to physically interact with content on a large digital canvas, grouping, combining and adding to ideas as they go. They can also contribute information and ideas from their laptops or personal devices from anywhere, at any time.
The right tools can engage and empower students in many ways, which is why more and more educators are incorporating technology into active learning spaces. These solutions make it simple and quicker for breakout groups to work together using shared digital tools and also help to reach disengaged students, giving them a different way to take part in group discussions. Cloud-based collaboration tools create opportunities for both synchronous and asynchronous collaborative work and ultimately make it easier for educators to develop students’ skills to prepare them for the modern workplace once they graduate.
In active learning environments, students need to have enough room to visualise ideas and plans, rather than the ‘old school’ solution covering walls with sticky notes and using charts of paper, interactive working walls like the Nureva Wall will help students to use images, templates and more to plan and complete their work. All the complex information can now be displayed on digital sticky notes and projected on the interactive surface. As the software is cloud-based and accessible on familiar devices, students can use their laptops, tablets or phones to contribute, create and share information inside and outside of the active learning space.
Today’s employers look for graduates who can collaborate, communicate solve problems and make decisions. Active learning is a key way for postsecondary students to hone all the skills they need to survive and thrive in the workplace. Nureva has created technology solutions that supports institutions as they move to this approach. The company’s Nureva Wall and Span Software combine to create powerful physical and virtual collaboration spaces that are ideal for active learning in Higher Education. The Nureva Wall gives groups unprecedented space to take learning deeper – with 7′ 6″ (2.30m) to 60′ (18.29m) of digital space and advanced multi-touch. Span Workspace accelerates collaboration and strengthens learning on a shared canvas where everyone can post notes and images, share screens and develop templated and more. Nureva’s visual collaboration solutions will give students an extra boost as they solve problems, share ideas and create together – helping them to build the vital skills for career success.
- Cloud-based collaboration tools let students access the team’s information wherever they are – the classroom, the library or at home
- Students can collaborate using Smartphones and tablets, laptops ChromebooksTM and other computers
- All information in one cloud-based location. Canvases can be duplicated, making it easy to access earlier versions and track progress
- Encourages critical thinking as students work together to define problems, share ideas and create solutions
- Gives educators a digital working space that can be used for other instructional activities