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Active Learning Classrooms

About Active Learning Classrooms

Active Learning Classroom model

In many general assignment classrooms at UC Berkeley the layouts of the room reflect an assumption that lecture is the primary mode of instruction. Other more interactive modes of teaching can be difficult to attempt.  Barriers include fixed seating and line-of-sight issues posed by installed blackboards, screens, and lecterns. The installation of A/V-IT in classrooms during the previous decade has certainly enhanced the ability for faculty to integrate computer-based presentations into their teaching. Nevertheless, the classroom layout and modes of teaching remain essentially the same.

Active learning classrooms (ALC) are teaching and learning spaces that allow faculty to move their course design beyond the lecture. The room design, flexible furniture, writing surfaces, and technology all combine to support faculty in engaging with their students through collaborative learning activities and more participatory use of media. Active learning classrooms facilitate diverse sizes and groupings of students, creating a flexible and supportive environment for a class to transition seamlessly between a professor's presentation and facilitated student group work. Such rooms enable options for supporting a myriad of teaching and learning arrangements.

In 2011, ETS undertook the design and installation of a pilot active learning classroom in room 127 Dwinelle Hall. The so called "Test Kitchen" offers a classroom where the physical space and the technology are inviting and flexible, providing more substantive opportunities for instructors and students to engage actively in the teaching and learning process. 

In 2011, ETS undertook the design and installation of a pilot active learning classroom in room 127 Dwinelle Hall. The so called "Test Kitchen" offers a classroom where the physical space and the technology are inviting and flexible, providing more substantive opportunities for instructors and students to engage actively in the teaching and learning process. 

ETS Test Kitchen First Year Review Available

report cover

The Room 127 Dwinelle Hall Test Kitchen is an experimental classroom operated by Educational Technology Services (ETS). Designed as a space for exploring active learning classroom arrangements, the Test Kitchen is now in its second year. ETS is making available a report from the review conducted of the first year's experiences. This report covers the initial set-up as well as various teaching and operational aspects of the Test Kitchen. The report offers detailed observations on various ways in which the Test Kitchen allowed a dozen UC Berkeley instructors to explore innovative teaching practices in either short term or semester-long engagements. The documented experiences of classes using the Test Kitchen over the past year are already helping ETS staff begin to understand some specific ways in which GA classrooms on campus could be outfitted to allow for more active learning.

 

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Recent Active Learning Classroom Articles

Posted January 31, 2013 | Article

This semester our Social Media Tuesdays series will be based upon the recently published book, Social Media for Educators: Strategies and Best Practices by Tanya Joosten. This book is a fabulous resource for any instructor considering the use of social or new media tools for enhancing teaching and learning - or for their own professional networking. We will loosely follow the subjects through the book, holding focused hands-on workshops each month on the first Tuesday during lunchtime in Dwinelle 4. You may attend any or all of these workshops for free.

social media
The New Media Reader
Posted September 5, 2012 | Article

The subject is new media. The opportunity is professional development. The method is an engaging 13-week seminar.

Posted December 6, 2011 | Article

You've heard about ETS' active learning classroom, Dwinelle 127, but listen to what students are saying:

Dwinelle 127 Test Kitchen Updated
Posted September 7, 2011 | Article

Dwinelle 127 is all about collaboration. If you would like to visit the classroom, you’re teaching ‘actively’ by working in small groups or assigning projects and need a collaboration space for either the whole semester or just part of the semester, and your class seats no more than 32 students, you may want to consider teaching in Dwinelle 127 now!

Posted September 2, 2011 | Article

The Active Learning Classrooms working group was convened in July 2009 by Vice Provosts Koshland and Maslach and Vice Chancellor LeGrande. Deborah Nolan, then Acting Dean of Mathematical and Physical Sciences in L&S and Professor of Statistics, served as chair.

The following charge was given to the group:

photo of a class working in small groups in Dwinelle 127
Posted July 19, 2011 | Article

Recently ETS was given the challenge to create a "test kitchen," a space where faculty and instructors can be more innovative in their teaching practice and where students can engage actively in the teaching and learning process. Thanks to the Campus Committee on Classroom Policy and Management, ETS is creating such a space in Dwinelle 127, an ETS departmental classroom seating up to 32 students.