Saint Xavier University (SXU) is changing the look of a traditional classroom in order to transform the way students learn. SXU was concerned that its classroom setups were not meeting the needs of students and faculty and therefore researched collaborative technology that would enable students to connect their mobile devices to the display technology present in the classrooms. As a result, the university created three learning spaces on the Chicago campus, 3700 West 103rd Street, that have been furnished with café-style furniture, flat-panel displays and the Christie Brio content sharing platform.
In an effort to re-imagine the traditional classroom, SXU determined which technology would best suit the needs of the institution – incorporating mobile devices on classroom displays.
“We started off looking at other products and all of them had their limitations of whether they could connect with Mac, iOS, Android or PC,” said Chris Zakrzewski, assistant provost for technology and instructional innovation. “Brio was the product that had the most breadth in its ability to connect these and other devices wirelessly to monitors that are in our rooms.”
SXU worked with Pentegra Systems to install three Christie Brios in each of the smaller studio classrooms and four in the larger space. Each Christie Brio is connected to either a 65-inch or a 75-inch flat-panel display. Lecterns equipped with touchscreens allow instructors to arrange and share content with students on the displays.
“The students have responded very positively to the learning studios,” said Zakrzewski. “They have told us that the rooms paint a picture that the institution is engaged in creating the best learning environment for them that we can. They feel more comfortable in the learning space, and we know the more comfortable a student feels in their space the more engaged they’ll be. So we’re getting lots of positive feedback from our students with the Brio product in the learning studios.”
Teachers have responded equally positively, saying they prefer to teach in the learning studios rather than traditional classrooms, and that the flexibility of the space can accommodate a flipped classroom.
Although we have only three learning studios on the Chicago campus, it allowed us to launch a collaboration technology pilot for a larger project at the university’s new location in Gilbert, Ariz. SXU installed 70 Christie Brios throughout the Gilbert location in both learning studios as well as learning commons for collaborative group work.
“It’s really the backbone of our AV teaching philosophy, to allow anyone – any student, any faculty – to connect wirelessly,” said Zakrzewski. “You can’t create a 21st century learning environment and have everybody plugging into walls.”