“Cool Room”—Incubator for innovative teaching
Students call it “The Cool Room”. The Wong e-classroom in Mills Library has all the gadgets—touch-screen technology, dual-boot Apple laptops, a wizard podium capable of running the Internet, a document camera and a video system all simultaneously on screens around the room.
But the Wong e-classroom is far more than a gadget collection. David Kidney, Manager of Classroom Audio-Visual Services and chair of McMaster’s Classroom Renewal Committee, describes it as “a sort of sandbox”—an experimental space where both new technologies and new teaching and learning techniques are tested.
Carolyn Eyles, Professor of Geography and Earth Sciences and co-chair of the Task Force on Teaching and Learning, is the first faculty member to teach a full class in the Wong e-classroom. And she is very enthusiastic about its potential to enhance student learning. Eyles uses the multimedia features to re-enforce a concept with Google Earth, personal photographs and text simultaneously, while students collaborate in small groups and take notes or conduct research on the laptops. Her students comment that “seeing multiple things is helpful and fun to watch”. They like the small relaxed learning space, so different from the row seating in traditional lecture halls. Even the glass outer wall is popular, as passers-by stop to gaze at teaching in progress in this very special space.
Faculty and instructors, with their Liaison librarian partners, will have the opportunity to use the Wong e-classroom. For more information, contact your Liaison librarian at /contact/liaisons. Lessons learned about teaching technology and space configuration will be incorporated into future classroom developments across campus. And lessons learned about successful teaching innovations will benefit our students both immediately and in future.