At IISER Bhopal we are setting up a technology-enabled classroom which promotes adaptive, immersive and reactive (AIR) teaching and learning. This prototype classroom will be the first of its kind in the country which aims to implement most of the modern teaching methodologies already available as well as that developed at the center. The fundamental motivation behind AIR classroom comes from similar-concept classrooms (Technology-enabled Adaptive Learning) that were developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a few other universities of international repute. The Studio AIR project goes above and beyond other similar-concept classrooms by enhancing technology-human interaction and improving content quality. This classroom will enable improved learning in a class which has a wide spectrum of students with varying backgrounds. The course structure and content in this classroom imposes itself upon a student thus giving little opportunity to the student to escape the material or lose his/her interest. Moreover, constant active interaction with the course material keeps the interest and motivation alive for students and ensures that learning goals begin in the classroom. Strong emphasis remains on active interaction with the course material, group discussions, problem solving and instant quizzing rather than simply making notes from the board. Instant feedback of the students’ work to the instructor throughout the lecture is guaranteed by the technology employed, thereby enabling him/her to adapt the lecture catering to the specific needs of the class. In this special classroom instructor can induce peer-to-peer learning by group problem solving and group discussions. Inclusion of real and virtual demonstrations as teaching aids, small tabletop experiments, virtual experiments, team work and game play creates an immersive and reactive environment for learning.
Several core and professional courses to be taught under this methodology are already under development.
Developing novel teaching methodologies invariably entails experimentation and, in particular, deviating from the traditional classroom setting. Moreover, the actual layout of the class as well as the teaching media may depend strongly on the concepts taught and may change from lecture to lecture. In order to allow flexibility in the teaching style, the center is also developing a free form classroom that will allow instructor to mold the classroom according to his/her needs and explore new ways of teaching. The classroom will also contain a light board studio for recording lectures. Such a technology-enabled free form classroom may very well be the classroom of the future and will go a long way in ensuring effectiveness of science education.
This is a facility which provides basic infrastructure (hardware and software) for free-form innovation in education technology. The facility will allow any member of the institute to explore their ideas for improving quality of education. The free-form innovation model of DEMO-Lab has three primary goals:
(i) It serves as a facility for development of demonstrations for daily classroom teaching, where both real and virtual demonstrations are created for science teaching. Demonstrations are an invaluable teaching aid which immediately familiarize the students with complex concepts. Demonstrations can be real, like a physical set-up of an experiment or they can be computer-based virtual demonstration, like an interactive 3D-graphic demonstration or a simulation of an experiment.
(ii) DEMO-Lab incubates new ideas for improving education technology and pedagogies by providing building blocks for innovation in form of hardwares, softwares and state of the art computational tools. Creative enthusiasts (faculty or students) get all facilities under one roof so that they can explore their ideas and implement them. DEMO-Lab promotes applied technology and marketable product creation that can have an impact on society.
(iii) DEMO-Lab aims to support outreach agencies (non-governmental or governmental organizations), aiding them by development and deployment of educational content. Often outreach agencies have enthusiasm for reaching out to various communities but lack educational resources or work with traditional resources. DEMO-Lab aims to understand their needs and develop educational resources that can aid the outreach agencies more effectively in their effort. Demonstrations and education media developed in the lab may be useful for outreach activities or inversely, demonstrations and education media may be motivated by outreach needs.