Priorities in the Classroom: Pedagogies for High Performance Learning Spaces

Priorities in the Classroom: Pedagogies for High Performance Learning Spaces

Robert Emery Smith (Stanford University, USA), Helen L. Chen (Stanford University, USA), Menko Johnson (Stanford University, USA), Alyssa J. O’Brien (Stanford University, USA) and Cammy Huang-DeVoss (Stanford University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-080-4.ch024

Abstract

Innovative and informed design for higher education must begin with attention to teaching, not with shopping lists for digital media tools or blueprints for high performance spaces. The outcomes of the action research program embodied in Wallenberg Hall, a “socio-technical system” at Stanford University created to explore the futures of classroom learning, demonstrate the merit of this perspective. Framed in terms of an evolved implementation of the Technology, Pedagogy and Content Knowledge (TPACK) model of course design and presenting a three level categorization of teaching innovation, this chapter discusses a collection of course case studies to argue that the most innovative and informed design happens by keeping well-supported pedagogy at the forefront of higher education.
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Background

It is common to encounter articles in the literature today that isolate a technology to investigate how it might be used in an educational setting (Lloyd, 2010). Beginning with projectors, then interactive whiteboards and laptops, and recently with video lecture capture and Web 2.0 tools, the march of products aspiring to bring education out of the presumed dark ages of the twentieth century has continued. Meanwhile, educational scholars such as Abbott (2000) have argued persuasively for a re-evaluation of the use of digital technologies in the classroom based on their increasing prevalence as a mode of communication within an international context.

Indeed, technology is an important item on the docket of most school districts and colleges because computers and other ICT tools are generally regarded as a necessity, representing a significant cost of operations and a comparatively short useful life as an investment. A five-year-old classroom table is practically new; a five-year-old computer is a relic: not only slow, but in some cases unable to cope with current operating systems and applications. If concern about being up-to-date drives the adoption of these tools for classrooms, it is clear that the same concern demands continuing expenditures to deliver on the promises of educational technologies.

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