TILE: Transforming the Classroom Experience
TILE: Transforming the Classroom Experience

When I first walked into the classroom I was like, wow I didn’t expect a room of tis caliber. I really like the group work you get a chance people, in the classroom. It’s a lot more hands-on. It’s more of getting involved in activities,
and you get to figure stuff out a little better. I’m not just taking notes like an
automaton, I’m really thinking about what we are discussing. TILE, Transform, Interact, Learn, Engage. It is a philosophy
that dozens of faculty and hundreds of students at The University of Iowa are
now experiencing. The TILE classrooms are specialized spaces around campus designed to support active learning and
higher order thinking skills, such as the application, analysis, and
evaluation, of course concepts. “So it really has made it so that I’ve
been engaging the students a lot more and what they’re learning, and so instead of standing up at a
lecture podium presenting material in a particular away where I want them to
understand it, we’re really engaging them and really understanding that material
with activities we have in this class.” The TILE rooms are rich in IT resources. The instructor can
project material from the central podium too many screens around the room, and student tables feature multiple
laptop computers. The instructor can also showcase student
work by projecting individual laptop screens around the
room. “Having the computers available for the students
at the table and then being able to project some of the images that we were looking out onto
the screen, was really an important part the day-to-day study that we were doing.”
“You don’t feel condemned to a desk, we have the round table so everybody able to participate.” We have the laptop so we’re able to look up ICON account and also respond faster. I feel like we’re in the now.” While
technology is a tremendous asset many students and faculty have found
that other elements of the TILE spaces have an even greater impact. “On the first day of class they walked in, they were a little bit thrown off by the different setup, but once they got
comfortable with the new environment they really opened up into a level of
discussion and conversation and work that exceeded my expectations
and really exceeded what I normally see in the classroom dynamics. So it
really, it facilitated a cooperative effort that’s the hard to
do when you have to reconfigure the space
in a normal style classroom.” “All the group work is so much better personally, on a personal level, I feel
like I can contribute and feel like I’m being heard.” “Instead of having a lecture hall and having five hundred people and just a sea of faces you don’t know, you come and sit with the same people
every day and you get to know them really well and it helps a lot with learning the information.” “When I started teaching in the tile
classroom I totally reworked some of my classes to, decrease the amount of time i’m talking
and increase the amount the amount of engaged work that my students are doing
together. “Well being in the TILE room has changed several things for me. One of the things that it’s done is
its made projects that I’ve always wanted to be impossible for the first time. So, for example, I
teach sociology and a lot of what we like to do involves a lot of using data but in the past I
couldn’t have students manipulating their own data in class together working together on
projects. But because the resources in the room now I can.” “You actually get to connect with other
students compared to everybody’s just doing the same thing
that really talking to each other. “I was immediately more comfortable
in the class. I like the environment, I like being able
to walk around and not be up at a podium with
lecture notes and having a big hassle. I was more comfortable having it
be more of a conversation with the students.” “I had many positive comments from students about working in the TILE classroom. They liked the group work, they liked
using the technology, they thought that was good for their generation.” “They like the fact that
they had new expectations and that they were held to a higher, a higher challenge. “It captures the entire academic life of our society of what we do today” “I think is very
effective I would like the whole curriculum to go to this type of format.” “I would say that I’ve already been able to tell that there is growing enthusiasm in the class they’re excited
about the different things that we do. I’ve been very impressed with what
they can do if you can give them some resources to actually answer a question on the fly.” A preliminary
University of Iowa assessments suggest that students taking a course in a TILE environment earn higher grades
than students taking the same course in a traditional classroom. Studies have
students using the same TILE like classrooms at The University of Minnesota and MIT
indicate greater strides in academic performance and knowledge retention. “I definitely would, yea definitely.”
“Yea sure.” “I’d be down for that.” “I would after the second day in here I emailed an old teacher mine and
I told her that this would be her dream classroom, and she was a bit jealous.” “Yes I would
absolutely teach in a TILE room again.” “I would absolutely teaching a TILE room
again given the chance.”

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