Department News

Active Learning Spaces Coming Soon to IARc

Which classroom best supports a dynamic education that engages students as co-creators of learning? This is a question that is being asked around campus at the Office of Space Management, the Faculty Teaching and Learning Commons, the UNCG libraries, UNCG Information Technology Services, the School of Education and, particularly, the Department of Interior Architecture.  Following up on last year’s proposal for a Steelcase Active Learning Spaces grant, submitted by IARc professors Anna Marshall-Baker and Maruja Torres-Antonini, a university-wide interest group formed this year to explore how to fully capitalize on the benefits of active learning pedagogies by addressing physical space and the integration of cutting edge interactive technologies already installed in the classrooms.

Steelcase uses an evidence-based design process to rethink classroom furniture so that it offers the necessary flexibility, comfort and connectivity to support rapid configuration, interaction, and multimodal collaboration. Their designs allow moving away from the traditional setting of rows of fixed tablet chairs and a lectern to now design classrooms that engage and inspire by putting control of the learning space in the hands of students and instructors. The Steelcase Active Learning Spaces grant offers up to $60,000 in classroom equipment for a traditional classroom conversion and for data collection on the impact that active learning interior design and furniture products have on classroom outcomes.

The interest group will explore opportunities for implementing active learning centers on campus for a resubmission for the Steelcase grant in 2018.