Publish at April 18 2011 Updated September 29 2022

Classroom participation: a question of design

Respond to the teacher or argue with him/her in a balanced conversation? To change relationships, let's rearrange the space...

On this video presented by The Technology Showcase you can see how classroom architecture and technologies in conjunction with an active pedagogical approach come to change all relationships between teachers and students and among the students themselves.

The same technologies in a different architecture or without a participatory pedagogy would probably not have achieved great results, at least not of the order observed.

Faculty necessarily change their approach because the structure of the classroom no longer allows for certain modes of communication. Others take advantage of opportunities to initiate activities previously difficult to accomplish or sustain. Finally, the students themselves become involved because otherwise their presence would appear insignificant and uninteresting to themselves as well as to their companions.

Collaboration, interactions, solution finding, discussions, error analysis, mutual aid. The teacher accompanies, stimulates, challenges but does not give the answers. The different participatory formulas seem to have a clearly positive impact, appreciated by both teachers and students. The approach resembles that of Sugatra Mitra, but applied to adults (See article on S.Mitra).

On the article site, you'll also find two audio interviews conducted with ESL teacher Carolyn Samuel and Maureen Baron, who teaches new media in the College of Education, about their experiences teaching in these innovative new spaces.

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