K116 – Exploring elements of a next generation classroom

In partnership with the Registrar, Provost’s office and Facilities, ITS spent the summer examining how to better support teaching in a next generation classroom. We selected Kohlberg 116, a relatively unloved classroom full of heavy tablet arm chairs that were difficult to move.

Replacing the existing furniture with chairs on wheels means furniture can be arranged and re-arranged quickly. It can be arranged in rows and columns for lectures, in a circle for large group discussions, or in smaller groups. We also added two full walls of writing surface and portable white boards that small groups can huddle around to brainstorm. There are also less chairs which allows instructors to move around the room easily.

Those may be most significant “technologies” in the room, but they may not be the first thing you notice. We’ve added more projectors that groups can use for collaboration. The “salad bowl” speakers focus sound to a particular area and each of the five projectors have wireless capabilities so a group working at the back of the room can quickly redirect what they’ve been working on to the main screen when reporting back to the class.

We’re hosting an Open House on Monday, September 25th from 11:30 – 1 pm and encourage you to come and check out the room. If the flexible furniture, writing surfaces and technology would serve a class you’re teaching in the Spring semester please reach out and let us know (aturner2, or mjones1). We also hope the Open House will be a chance to kick off discussion of other spaces on campus that might benefit from some (or all) of these things. Let us know if you have ideas!