Olympic College in Bremerton, WA has recently installed a classroom designed to fully invoke the students' senses - seaming group learning, technology, and traditional teaching methods to maximize course effectiveness. Since it's introduction at MIT in the late 90's, the TEAL environment (Technology Enhanced Active Learning), has proven it's merits time and again. Faced with low attendance and high failure rates in freshman physics, professors looked outside the box to engage students of varying levels of knowledge with the often abstract material. It began with interactive engagement, a new method which delivered promising results compared to traditional lecture-and-test style teaching. Instructors found that when working in groups, more advanced students could bring struggling peers up to speed, while cementing their own understanding at the same time. By shortening lectures and spending more time with hand-on activites, discussion, and experiments, students were more motivated than ever and test scores were up.
Professors knew they were on the right track, and the ongoing rise of technology created an opportunity to shift the paradigm even more. In the fall of 2000, the first TEAL classroom was unveiled. Each group of three had their own computer to view lecture slides, allowing them back up and catch what they missed without halting the rest of the class. Multiple whiteboards and video projectors provided an unobstructed view regardless of location. Diagrams and animations accompanied the material to drive home concepts. In-class problems could be answered in the form of a poll with results displayed in real time, letting the teacher stamp out common errors and mistakes before they take root. Rather than sitting at a fixed spot instructors could now jump from table to table with a wireless microphone, faciliating group interaction and answering questions on a more personal level. Average learning gains increased two-fold, and the benefits of TEAL have since been confirmed by numerous independent studies and implentation across the globe.
Like so many other institutions, Olympic College has decided to give their students the TEAL advantage, and NOVA's collaborative learning stations and Trolley™monitor lifts were a perfect fit for this environment. Having the ability to raise and lower monitors at the touch of a button provides instructors with the versatility and control to focus students' attention precisely where it needs to be.
The following links show online panoramas of Olympic College's new classrooms with the monitors both up and down. See first hand how their new classroom is transforming the way students are learning and interacting with the information.