RIT unveils new learning space

Technology-rich interactive classroom enhances STEM learning and increases retention rates through collaborative software, immersive visualization and tablet technologies

Elizabeth Lamark/RIT Production Services

Students in Robert Garrick’s classes have access to immersive technologies in a new classroom called TRILE—the Technology Rich Interactive Learning Environment. Use of different technologies has been shown to improve student learning, material retention, active participation and grades, especially among those students with lower GPAs or from under-represented groups. The new classroom was dedicated this week during Brick City Homecoming & Family Weekend.

Rochester Institute of Technology will dedicate a new interactive learning classroom and demonstrate how the technology has positively influenced student learning, improved retention rates and increased interaction among students and faculty.

On Friday, Oct. 17, RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology will dedicate TRILE—the Technology Rich Interactive Learning Environment classroom—in a ceremony and demonstration from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. in Brown Hall, Room 1110.

Robert Garrick, associate professor in CAST’s School of Engineering Technology, led the development of the interactive classroom as well as research on its effectiveness.

The new learning environment is a means to transform education from predominantly lecture to more active learning, where students, especially those with lower GPAs or from under-represented groups, benefit from this non-traditional classroom setting. Being successful in coursework increases the likelihood students will be retained in academic degree programs, graduate and eventually move into viable careers, said Garrick.

“The new TRILE space is unique in that it has 10 projectors to increase the visualization of material, 30 tablet computers, cameras and eight interactive white-boards to allow students to actively participate in their learning by digitally-inking problem solutions while working in groups,” said Garrick.

The new Technology Rich Interactive Learning Environment being showcased also includes interactive software integrated with instructional materials in a shared, online workspace, as well as embedded video links to real applications of the course concepts, increased interactive activities to highlight different approaches to successfully complete problems and immediate feedback and retrieval of information from class sessions.

Using these various types of immersive technologies and collaborative software, the research team has seen increased academic performance particularly from those who have struggled academically, according to Garrick’s research. It has also increased retention rates particularly for students who would have been among those withdrawing from the courses.

“The ongoing and future challenge for educators will be selecting and integrating immersive classroom technologies to enhance proven pedagogical principles,” said Garrick, who worked with faculty within CAST’s School of Engineering Technology and in the mechanical engineering department in RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering as well as with representatives from the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education.

The Technology Rich Interactive Learning Environment was funded through the National Science Foundation’s Research Initiation Grants in Engineering Education program grant and an Innovative Learning Institute grant from RIT. The institute helps to coordinate development and adoption of effective teaching and learning through multiple means, including, in this instance, classroom innovation.

Related articles:

Technology Rich Learning Environment Reveals Improved Retention Rates.

Note: RIT recently opened another innovative learning space, the Steelcase Innovation Learning Classroom, as part of the university’s ongoing efforts toward more interactive teaching and learning environments.

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