Why consider Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs)

My colleague Nina Pak Lui and I have bene working through challenges of the traditional classroom. We are trying to discern and articulate how teaching and learning are impacted by space, materiality, and design. This is both a conceptual and a practical challenge. For example, we ask, why do our education classrooms prioritize front facing design with (relatively) fixed furniture? At times, I appreciate a didactic approach via lecturing, yet I would like easy configurability in the classrooms to better serve group discussions and projects. In thinking through these kinds of structural questions, I have developed an interest in Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs). These are purposefully designed spaces where classroom space, furniture, tools, and technologies prioritizes “active learning.” A few examples in the following links:

Yale Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning

McGill Teaching and Learning Services

Concordia Centre for Teaching and Learning

McMaster Faculty of Social Sciences

Queen’s Active Learning Classrooms

University of Toronto Active Learning

Steelcase furniture for Active Learning Classrooms

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