In today’s hyper-competitive world of higher education, technology rules! Colleges and universities are re-thinking the traditional classroom. New classrooms are designed to be open and collaborative, much like the trend in office space. Many are built as a studio classrooms, not like lecture halls with rows of chairs. Acronyms you might hear in a planning session? TEAL and SCALE-UP.
TEAL—Technology Enabled Active Learning—was the brainchild of a professor at MIT who was disappointed with his students’ progress in first-year physics. In a TEAL classroom, small groups of students work at shared workstations. Tables and chairs are on wheels. Flat panels, projection screens and whiteboards are on all four walls. The professor is nomadic, moving from group to group, more a facilitator than a lecturer.
At the undergraduate level a similar program called SCALE-UP—Student-Centered Active Learning Environment for Undergraduate Programs—also uses a studio classroom and emphasizes teamwork and class-wide discussion. In both cases the goal is to more fully engage students so they have a better chance at success.
With the open space concept moving into academia, designers and architects of TEAL classrooms are finding the FreeAxez Gridd® adaptive cabling distribution system, a low-profile access floor, is ideal for these fluid floorplans. With Gridd’s access flooring and underfloor cable distribution, students and professors can be mobile yet connected. The Gridd installation in the TEAL classroom at Yale gives the room a clean look, with open sightlines to projector screens that are unobstructed by power poles associated with traditional raised access floors. Video cables allow students to project from their computers. Furniture can be rearranged easily. And as the technology evolves and the university upgrades, the Gridd system will allow the classroom to advance and change with technology. Case Western, University of Virginia, Penn State, West Virginia and U Penn all have Gridd in their high tech classrooms.