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Active Learning Classrooms to Support Collaborative Group Learning in Higher Education - the Teacher Perspective
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education. (HEEL)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0020-4137
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Computer and System science. (Forum för digitalisering (FoDi))
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

At the same time as most learning and teaching activities today are technology enhanced to some degree (Watson, 2008; Davies et al, 2017), a majority of classrooms are designed the same way as they were a hundred years ago. Several studies indicate that we have to redesign our classrooms to open up for more flexible learning sessions and to support collaborative learning (Cotner et al., 2013; Bernade, 2017). A promising concept seems to be technology enhanced active learning classrooms where the furnishing is meant to facilitate group based activities (Charles & Whitaker, 2015; Cotner et al., 2013; Vercellotti, 2017). This study is an evaluation of two active learning classrooms equipped with Internet connected computers where students can be divided into groups of up to six students, each group with a separate digital screen and a separate whiteboard.

These classrooms are inspired by the active learning classrooms that have been built at the University of Minnesota and the evaluation of the classrooms was also based on an interview schedule from the same university (see Note 1 in Baepler & Walker, 2014). At the university where this study was conducted blended synchronous learning is frequently used. An educational blend that can be defined as the mix of on-campus and distance students participating synchronously in common learning and teaching activities. Research studies have highlighted the importance of bridging the gap between these two groups and create equivalent learning conditions (Turoff, 2000; Popov, 2009). The aim of the study was to analyse and discuss if and how the technology equipped and group work furnished classrooms might support university teachers’ work with various types of collaborative learning. Traditional classrooms are furnished for traditional lecture-based rostrum teaching, this study explores how classrooms that better supports student centred learning should be designed.  

As theoretical frameworks for the analysis, Gibsons concept of affordances (Gibson, 1979; Hutchby, 2001; John & Sutherland, 2005) and instructional proxemics (McArthur, 2015) was used. The concept of affordances can be defined as ”functional and relational aspects which frame, while not determining, the possibilities for agentic action in relation to an object” (Hutchby, 2001, p. 444), and was useful for discussing how the room, the ICT equipment and, its furnishing affects teaching and learning activities. Instructional proxemics, defined as “[e]ducational space and the use of space in the classroom” (McArthur III, 2008, p. 4) was used to discuss the impact of physical space on student behaviour.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
European Educational Research Association , 2018.
Keywords [en]
Active Learning, Active Learning Classrooms, ALC, Group based collaborative learning, Technology enhanced learning, Higher education
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-34352OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-34352DiVA, id: diva2:1246627
Conference
ECER 2018, Bolzano Italy, 4-7 September, 2018
Available from: 2018-09-08 Created: 2018-09-08 Last updated: 2018-12-12Bibliographically approved

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Sundgren, MarcusMozelius, Peter

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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