What’s in a Technology Enabled Classroom?

Australian schools and universities are adopting Technology Enabled Active Learning (TEAL) across a range of disciplines and study spaces. TEAL is an educational innovation that emphasises active learning where teachers and students engage through practical work, collaboration and a degree of autonomy. Despite the name, technology is an educational aid on par with a pen and paper, and complements traditional learning tools with the most radical change occurring in the learning space itself.

TEAL moves learning spaces away from the front facing teacher and students in prearranged seats to an agile and flexible classroom. This allows TEAL to occur in practice without spatial limits. Study zones are more prominent where students are grouped and face each other. Teachers are centred in the room and must move to engage students.  Zones can be altered through the use of mobile folding tables and movable seating. Higher learning institutions also offer more power and data points for students bringing their own laptops and equipment.

Learning spaces outside the classroom are becoming more prominent to further complement and reinforce TEAL techniques through study pods, workstations with power and data, and collaborative areas and meeting rooms. This reflects agile work practices where the individual can pick and choose the optimal space for their given task and work style at any time.

The benefits of active learning include higher engagement, information retention, improved social skills and increased technical proficiency. Studies suggest that it is effective if the educator welcomes the practice and has the technological proficiency. Even if it has not been fully embraced by educators, educational institutions across the country adopt some level of technology enabled active learning techniques.

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