UF’s College of Education will launch a new cutting-edge classroom in hopes of bringing education into the 21st century.
Room 2309 in Norman Hall will be made over with state-of-the-art educational technology by summer 2013.
The college received a $141,000 grant from UF’s Office of Academic Technology supported by student technology fees.
Touch-screen SMART interactive whiteboards will complement the standard dry-erase boards.
Seven mobile media pods outfitted with iPads or laptop computers will facilitate classroom group work.
The classroom’s media pods will connect to a large screen, allowing students to share their individual screens on 40-inch monitors at each end of the classroom.
“The importance is not the technology, but how you use technology to model 21st century skills of collaboration, problem solving, creativity, research and critical thinking,” said Suzanne Colvin, associate director of teacher education in the School of Teaching and Learning.
Incorporating student input into the educational process will empower students and increase their willingness to learn, she said.
Lauren Vivar, a 21-year-old elementary education senior, said the use of technology is essential in today’s world.
“Students are much more likely to participate when technology is involved,” she said. “The classroom will also give learners another way to gather new information.”
Vivar said she believes teachers need to know how to use technology, and the new classroom will help equip future teachers with the right skills for when they go into the school system.
Colvin said she hopes the reinvented classroom will serve as a prototype for other departments at UF.
“The ultimate goal for the classroom would be to function as a model for how to improve instruction and increase active learning on the part of students all over campus,” she said.