Active Learning Through Tech-Friendly Spaces
- July 23, 2020
- Anthony Bowie
Learning can and should happen everywhere in a school––from classrooms to common spaces to the cafeteria––and flexible learning spaces support this objective. But once you’ve created responsive learning spaces through layout and furniture design, what can you do to further support learning throughout your school?
One way to support learning is to enable students to participate in active learning in the responsive spaces you’ve created in your school. Active learning occurs when students take ownership of their own learning experience and participate in the learning process directly.
Active learning can be as simple as offering students a choice in learning activities, but it is particularly valuable when it involves the implementation of technology into learning. Technology offers an endless list of opportunities to be creative, make decisions, and learn new skills, making it a strong support of active learning. But in order to bring technology into learning, it’s first important to create tech-friendly spaces that can support a variety of different technologies and activities.
When creating a tech-friendly learning space, it’s important to consider what your goals are for supporting active learning with technology. Factors such as grade level, device accessibility, and school technology budget are at the top of the list when it comes to building tech-friendly spaces.
For some schools, creating a full-scale computer lab might be the best approach to implement technology in your school, but hard-wired desktops make for the least flexible tech-friendly spaces. Instead, consider investing in mobile laptop or tablet stations, which enable tech-friendly learning anywhere in the school.
With flexible and mobile technology solutions, as well as the consideration of students’ personal devices, it’s important to prepare all of your learning spaces school-wide to be tech-friendly in a variety of ways. The biggest factor in supporting technology throughout your school is ensuring sufficient outlets and charging capabilities for many devices at once, including proximity to outlets or movable tables and desks to provide access to power while working. It’s also crucial to provide enough workspace for students to use their devices alongside other learning materials, such as books, notepads, or worksheets. Working in a responsive learning space with tables rather than desks can be a good way to supply enough workspace.
The best part about a flexible and responsive learning space is its ability to accommodate active learning in many forms. With flexible furniture, students can arrange their workspace however they need it to be most useful to their learning. This is particularly helpful when students are using mobile technology to learn. Whether students are bringing their own personal devices or using laptops or tablets provided by the school, mobile technology allows for students to work in whatever location or position that works best for their learning style.
Providing students with all of these options when working with technology gives them ownership over their learning process and enables consistently active learning. Tech-based active learning engages students by forcing their minds to think through digital activities, create solutions, and discover new ideas and methods. This approach helps to develop self-motivated students with valuable college and career-ready technology skills.