The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has brought three pilot classrooms into the 21st century where learning spaces are designed for students to get plugged in, flip open laptops, interact freely with each other and professors, absorb information from smart 3-D screens and sound bar systems.
The project is part of the UH System goal to create 21st Century Facilities and modernize facilities and campus environments to be safe, sustainable and supportive of modern practices in teaching, learning and research. It is the first step in the development of a formal UH Hilo 21st century classroom plan.
During the recent short planning period, a small group of UH Hilo administrators, faculty and students selected three versions of flexible classrooms designed to support active learning as part of this initial pilot project.
“This pilot project is the first step towards faculty and student driven active learning classroom designs,” says Brenda Hamane, director of special projects at the UH Hilo Office of Administrative Affairs. “We are hoping that the three renovated classrooms will spark discussions regarding what kind of technology, flexible furniture, and writing surfaces will cultivate collaboration and active learning. As future classroom buildings are renovated, feedback from this pilot project, and future faculty and student focus group discussions will facilitate the conversion of existing traditional classrooms into 21st century classroom designs that support an active learning classroom environment.”
The next step
Future plans aim to identify the shortcomings of existing classrooms, consult with the campus community to understand UH Hilo’s unique learning objectives, create standards and guidelines for the transformation of outdated classrooms into modern spaces appropriate for current students, and define the technology infrastructure needed to support modern classrooms such as the three in the pilot.
Subsequent classroom planning will include a broader and larger planning group as well as campus-wide input and involvement. A survey will be provided in late September to faculty and students using these pilot classrooms to obtain valuable feedback on the classrooms.
—From UH Hilo Stories