Active Learning Classroom coming to SKCTC

Published 2:33 pm Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College (SKCTC) is among 16 schools and universities receiving new classroom environments aimed at improving student engagement and success. The college will partner with Steelcase Education to implement personalized learning strategies through the Active Learning Center Grant program, in its fourth annual year. Through this grant, the institution supports both teachers and students by creating an environment that encourages engagement, collaboration and creativity.

“We are so excited to be given the opportunity to collaborate with Steelcase Education,” says Dr. Michelle Dykes-Anderson, Vice President of Advancement. “Our faculty are dedicated to meeting students where they are, engaging them in active learning curriculum and fostering critical thinking and teamwork skills to improve student success. We look forward to continuing this mission with the help of Steelcase Education’s research and classroom solutions.”

SKCTC’s Middlesboro campus will be receiving the Active Learning Center Classroom Model four, which delivers a range of options to suit different learning styles and teaching methods. With a flexible arrangement, extreme mobility and smart tech support, instructors will be able to better employ personalized learning plans and teach with a wide variety of tactics.

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The grant is valued at approximately $67,000 per classroom and covers the furniture, design, installation and on-site training needed to effectively use the new space.

With research pointing to the benefits of active learning pedagogies, SKCTC is poised to improve measurable outcomes for its students, including levels of attention and engagement and potentially even test scores. As part of this partnership with Steelcase Education, Southeast will conduct research on improving critical thinking skills in nursing students so that they make better decisions in the field.

“We are excited to learn from the innovative and enthusiastic instructors at SKCTC,” said Marisa Sergnese, training and professional development leader at Steelcase Education. “As we share with these faculty members best practices for incorporating the active learning environment into their curriculum, their insights will also inform our research, future products and strategic development to better the educational experience.”

Along with Southeast, 15 other educational institutions including traditional four-year colleges and universities, a technical and community college, middle and high schools, an independent girls’ boarding school, and even a self-proclaimed “UnSchool” were chosen to receive the 2018 Active Learning Center Grant. This year’s grant recipients represent a variety of institution types and learning models, and all are showing a commitment to innovation and improving student outcomes.

In addition to installing new classrooms, Steelcase will provide training on the uses of the technology and furniture in the new spaces. The recipients will have the opportunity to participate in an annual symposium with all awarded schools to share insights and best practices. Over the two-year program, Steelcase Education and the schools will partner together to conduct assessments and research on the impact of the newly designed space. Research from schools included in the first cycle of grant recipients has shown the active learning classroom’s impact on student and instructor metrics, including:

Enhanced collaboration and team-based learning;

Drove student engagement and participation; and

Supported instructor-led changes in pedagogy.

The Steelcase Education learning environment will be installed beginning summer 2018 in Middlesboro by ORI. For more information on the Active Learning Center Grant program, visit the Steelcase Education website.