New active learning classroom installed at Lake Erie College

Academics,

The School of Education and Professional Studies at Lake Erie College is proud to announce the installation of a new active learning classroom in the Garfield Center.

Completed in time for the College’s School of Education Open House on February 20, the renovated space boasts an interactive touch screen, 20 Chromebooks, white boards, adjustable furniture, freestanding electrical outlets, and more.

The classroom at LEC is a pilot space for Steelcase, a United States-based furniture company that produces materials for working spaces that can unlock the promise of the people within them.

As explained on Steelcase’s website, the company’s flexible classrooms seek to capitalize on the benefits of active learning by supporting and enhancing the pedagogies employed in the classroom. Steelcase’s classrooms rethink ‘the box’ and move away from the traditional setting of rows and fixed chairs and a lectern. Rather, they engage and inspire by putting control of the learning space in the hands of students and instructors.

The classroom’s furniture can be easily morphed from lecture mode to teamwork, group presentations, discussions and the like, with technology incorporated throughout.

“Thanks to the flexible seating format, students choose from three different seating options,” said Dr. Katharine Delavan, Dean of the School of Education and Professional Studies and associate professor and coordinator of early childhood education, leader of the project that made the new classroom possible. “Everything is on wheels which makes it easy to facilitate collaborative group work.”

According to Dr. Delavan, the new space will allow the education faculty to prepare LEC students for collaborative learning classrooms. “The space allows us to fully implement the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Framework for the benefit of our students,” she said. “This classroom offers a space to practice UDL so students are prepared for the diverse needs of their own future students.”

The new classroom will help the education faculty at LEC restructure their courses in a way that moves away from traditional teaching methods and works to embrace more active learning within classes. This change is based on research in the education field that shows collaboration allows for more effective learning across age groups.

In addition to undergraduate education coursework, the active learning classroom at LEC will host professional development sessions for faculty members and local teachers.

Dr. Delavan says the College hopes to expand the active learning model to classrooms across campus in the future.

The renovation of the classroom in Garfield was made possible by fundraising among generous alumni of Lake Erie College. The College is currently working to procure a grant to renovate a second classroom in that building to embrace the flexible learning model.

More information on Steelcase’s active learning classrooms is available at https://www.steelcase.com/spaces-inspiration/active-learning-spaces-classrooms/#application-ideas_rethink-the-box.

For more information on LEC’s active learning classroom or the School of Education, contact Dr. Delavan at kdelavan@lec.edu.

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