Last week I worked with Ellen Marie Murphy of Plymouth State and Andrew Milne of Tidebreak on a NERCOMP SIG with the title "Classroom of the Future." For the first couple of hours, Andrew and I presented -- ho hum -- but then we gave them glue sticks, scissors, foam paper, and other materials, and had them develop classroom designs in groups of 5-6.
It amazed me how successful this cut-and-paste activity was. Everyone was very into it, energetically gluing, cutting, debating, etc. For the last 45 minutes they reported out on their projects. All were received and delivered with enthusiasm. It's clear that the folks who work on classrooms at all these institutions care about their work and are thinking a lot about the challenges in classroom design. They brought their energy with them.
What is a bit ironic about this is that at our recent ELI focus session on collaboration, Jenn Stringer at Stanford reported on story at Stanford. Jenn does classroom support at the Stanford Med School and they are in the process of building new learning spaces. When Jenn proposed a design for a room supporting highly interactive engagements, one prof objected, saying "no kindergarten classrooms!" Ironically, turns out that for these SIG attendees, the kindergarten aspect of the day was the more rewarding.
My slides are on Slideshare. Pix from the session below.