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October 23 , 2007

Active Learning Spaces

New Directions for Teaching and Learning, Number 137


With the paradigm shift to student-centered learning, the physical teaching space is being examined The configuration of classrooms, the technology within them, and the behaviors they encourage are frequently represented as a barrier to enacting student-centered teaching methods, because traditionally designed rooms typically lack flexibility in seating arrangement, are configured to privilege a speaker at the front of the room, and lack technology to facilitate student collaboration.

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But many colleges and universities are redesigning the spaces in which students learn, collapsing traditional lecture halls and labs to create new, hybrid spaces—large technology-enriched studios—with the flexibility to support active and collaborative learning in larger class sizes. With this change, our classrooms are coming to embody the 21st-century pedagogy which many educators accept, and research and teaching practice are beginning to help us to understand the educational implications of thoughtfully engineered classrooms—in particular, that space and how we use it affects what, how, and how much students learn.

This is the 137th volume of this Jossey-Bass higher education series. It offers a comprehensive range of ideas and techniques for improving college teaching based on the experience of seasoned instructors and the latest findings of educational and psychological researchers.

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