Seizing upon the trend, Duquesne University developed new FlexTech classrooms designed to empower students to learn in more interactive ways. One of the key ingredients in this experiment: Barco’s ClickShare wireless presentation system, which facilitates content sharing to create a more hands-on educational experience.
Today, many colleges and universities are evolving from a teacher-centered learning model to student-centered learning model, where many students bring their own digital devices-laptops, tablets, and even smartphones-to participate in lessons in a more collaborative way. Seizing upon the trend, Duquesne University developed new FlexTech classrooms designed to empower students to learn in more interactive ways. One of the key ingredients in this experiment is a wireless presentation system, which facilitates content sharing to create a more hands-on educational experience.
Founded in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, more than 135 years ago, Duquesne University has become one of the top Catholic universities in the United States. Offering top-notch academics with a personal touch, the university provides a unique blend of tradition and innovation in an intimate setting. Duquesne takes a progressive approach to education, employing the latest instructional and networking technologies to enhance the teaching and learning experience.
Fueling a More Interactive Learning Experience
Three characteristics Duquesne focused on when choosing technology for their FlexTech classrooms are ease-of use-with a simple set-up and operation-having something compatible with all devices, and facilitating content sharing for more interactive learning.
Duquesne University’s FlexTech classrooms are focused on providing innovative tools to boost collaboration. Sharing content is simple, allowing students and instructors to broadcast content on any display in the room, with up to four users sharing information simultaneously on a single screen.
Designed for active learning, Duquesne’s FlexTech classrooms offer specialized and unique environments for teamwork and group learning. Each room is built in a collaborative configuration to encourage students to work together and engage in interactive problem-solving. These rooms have several student pods, each seating from four to six students around a writeable glass-top table. Each pod has a resident computer that is connected to a flat-panel, wall-mounted monitor with USB charging stations and connections so students can use their own devices-PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones (both Mac iOS and Android)-to connect to the system. With the use of ClickShare, students have the ability to share digital content throughout the room. An instructor’s station and main room display are also part of the room’s offering.
Leveraging Technology in a Changing Academic Landscape
Like many institutions of higher learning, Duquesne University is recognizing the value of enhancing collaboration through technology in the classroom. In creating its new FlexTech classrooms, Duquesne’s key objective was to provide students with an irreplaceable experience delivering unique value in the face-to- face classroom.
“We realize that students are highly sophisticated when it comes to using technology in every walk of life, and we want to empower them with the best tools to enhance their learning experience,” comments Lauren Turin, Media Services Manager at Duquesne University.
Teaching and Learning Strategies for FlexTech Classrooms
Duquesne describes multiple benefits for the FlexTech classrooms, including outlining teaching and learning strategies for faculty. Examples of classroom activities they recommend include using Google Docs to share files, enabling student groups to co-author and edit assignments. Another alternative is group case studies, where student groups work from preparation to final presentation.
They suggest demonstration of data using powerful visuals, where students can analyze data, draw graphs or sketch infographics on the glass tabletops. Images of the graphs can be captured via smart phones and shared with the ClickShare Presentation app, which displays the image on all of the room displays. Finally, Duquesne recommends using exhibits as teaching tools, such as using the technology to create an art gallery within the room to compare visual work and view a variety of images at once. Turin notes, “ClickShare is the perfect tool for our FlexTech classrooms, helping students collaborate more effectively for a richer learning experience.” She also praises the intuitive nature of the technology, suggesting it doesn’t get in the way of learning but only enhances it.
Summing up the potential value that this classroom brings to the campus, Dr. Timothy Austin, Duquesne’s Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, points out that great facilities do more than just meet current needs. “They lead faculty members and students to see opportunities they had never suspected,” Austin says, “and can actually change the way teachers teach and students learn.”
All photos by Forrest Briggs