“I believed it was important that I try to ‘model the way’ in terms of teaching in an innovative learning space myself, while engaging my peers in these discussions. The experience has been illuminating in many ways, ” states Theresa Moore, a Kirkwood faculty member and Faculty Development Specialist in KCELT (Kirkwood Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching).

Theresa agreed to teach her introductory student development course, College 101, in KCELT’s new MALIE (Mobile Active Learning Immersive Environment) room in the Fall 2015. This video includes Theresa’s and her students’ experiences in the MALIE room. In this blog post, Theresa also reflected on her students and her experiences of teaching and learning in the MALIE room.

Below is Theresa’s Reflection:

I have experienced first-hand what some of my fellow faculty have experienced – both the excitement and the frustrations of teaching in a new environment with high and unknown technological capabilities. All of us taught without any formalized, documented institutional training regarding how to use these rooms both pedagogically and technologically. This was, in part, the reason for the experiment: What would I, as a faculty developer, learn, by teaching in one of these classrooms that will help to inform future centralized professional development efforts at Kirkwood?

A synopsis of my experience: it was rife with successes and learning opportunities! The students were often more fluent with the technology than I was, so I quickly dismissed the notion that I could always, in all cases, operate the room better than they could. “Work-a-rounds” became a common vernacular in my classroom. There were also students on the other end of the spectrum.  Although few, they were almost luddites. I wasn’t prepared for the dichotomy and how it might impact the intended learning outcomes. However, the students themselves really mediated this dilemma by helping each other with technology and sharing short cuts. I learned a lot from them!

Through my experience, I realize the need for coordinated, inter-departmental support of faculty teaching in these rooms. For example, I would sometimes encounter an immediate need related to technology and not be able to troubleshoot it. I had the luxury to be able to run across the hall to a resident instructional designer who could assist, but other classrooms are not situated this way! They are metaphoric islands situated unassumingly among traditional classrooms. Anecdotally, it appears that myself and fellow faculty have had differentiated experiences regarding what protocols to follow when technological challenges arise. This is an opportunity for future growth.

Most importantly, I think my students truly enjoyed the space as a COLLABORATIVE learning space. This has very little to do with the technology, and all to do with the structural design of the room and furnishings (e.g. chairs and tables on wheels and no “front of the classroom”) and my pedagogical practices.

I have really enjoyed teaching students in an innovative learning space and I look forward to more opportunities in the future.  I also now feel more prepared to go forward in collaborating with other stakeholders to prepare our faculty to use these rooms in meaningful ways that align with learning outcomes and “put technology in its place,” so to speak.

One thought on “Teaching in a Flexible Learning Space (MALIE)

  1. I LOVE teaching in a flexible environment. The tech is a bonus! If you want to learn more about Plotagon or have any ideas for me regarding video animation for deep learning, contact me. 🙂

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