Next Generation Classroom

The title ‘Next Generation Classroom’  summarizes several guises in which education rooms can facilitate innovative education concepts.  Dr. Ing. Piet van der Zanden, from the Education Technology  department, is strongly involved in the projects listed below.

Redesigning class rooms

Education is changing. Collaboration and active sharing of knowledge are on the rise,  and as such demand a shift of emphasis within our current educational practices. However, lecture halls still have the same design as before. By making (a number of our) lecture halls more flexible, limitations which are currently still standing in the way of modernizing applied-scientific education will disappear. Flexibility is provided from multiple domains. For instance, rotatable furniture for combined lectures and tutorials and integrated digital AV with ICT and networks.  

Virtual linking of class rooms

Student numbers vary annually and are unpredictable. Facilities to support an increasing number of students pose a challenge for the university.  Apart from immense budgets, the construction of new class rooms and student rooms also can take 3-5 years. It cannot keep up with the continually changing number of students.

To be able to deal with the unpredictability of the number of students in relation to the room capacity, rooms will be virtually coupled to eachotther. If there are more students than one room can accommodate, a second room can be virtually coupled to it. In extreme cases, such as distributing a large group over many small lab rooms, multiple rooms can be stitched together. In such cases the conventional coupling using AV cabling is no longer sufficient, and the high end and robust TU Delft network will play an important and dominant role. AV over IP will be the standard! 

Interactive SMARTboards in combination with four quandrants

Our instructors are still frequently using the blackboard in teaching applied-scientific material. However, the blackboard somewhat hinders digitalization: the blackboard is difficult to film, it does not have digital memory for storage or reuse, and the instructor is constantly ‘in the way’ of the material being discussed on the board.  Form a facility point of view, there are also disadvantages due to the crayon dust and health issues, and cleaning.  

The instructor can keep a certain derivation, sketch, formula or something else on screen in parallel, divided over multiple quadrants, while the class continues. For now a maximum of 4 teaching information signals can be processed simultaneously. These can be 4 SMARTboard screens, but also a derivation and a PowerPoint presentation and a MAPLE demonstration and a movie. The possibilities are inexhaustible. 

Video Conference systems

Apart from one-way communication from one instruction room to one or more linked rooms, there sometimes is a need for direct interaction. With bi-directional communication over the network, it is of great importance to know the time delay of the whole chain. Stuttering video quality may be annoying, sound interruptions, however, are disastrous. 

 

The 3TU Virtual Lecture Hall requires videoconferencing  across the border of the campus. The collaborating departments of IDEA league of Leiden-Delft-Rotterdam also use videoconferencing. We distinguish between on-campus and inter-university video conference connections, because the Full  HD quality can be guaranteed on campus, but not on the public network.

Dr. Ing. Piet van der Zanden

Piet is advisor ICT in Education, where his main point of focus is the Next Generation Classroom , in which he is investigating how existing educational rooms can be designed flexibly, so modern educational methods can be facilitated. As project manager and researcher, Piet is involved in redecorating classrooms, virtual linking of multiple classrooms, using interactive SMART boards in combination with four quadrants, and in video conferencing systems. Occupancy and utilization of educational rooms plays an important role in these projects. Piet has written a book about this. 

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