Rees-Jones Hall, TCU’s newest academic building, features technology that is designed to make the classroom experience more interactive.
“We wanted the classroom to fit the 21st century student,” Assistant Provost Romana Hughes said.
The interactive classrooms in Rees-Jones give students access to wireless software air media. This technology facilitates the collaboration of ideas among different student groups in a particular classroom.
The software allows students to display their topics of discussion from their small groups to the entire classroom.
“It’s like being in a brand new kitchen with a lot of ingredients,” said Keith Whitworth, a TCU professor of sociology.
Students are also able to connect their computers, iPads and tablets to the wireless software to display a visual presentation in the classroom. For example, students can connect their devices in order to showcase their answers on a particular topic to the entire class.
The new academic building is designed for interdisciplinary purposes. Since the new building is open to any academic departments, the classrooms can accommodate a diverse set of teaching methods.
Classroom integration developer and Rees-Jones building manager Joanna Schmidt said the desks and chairs have the ability to fold so there is space for others classes, such as dance.
Rees-Jones faculty said they hope that the new classroom technology will spread across the campus based on the students’ needs.
“Students are the ones who drive the campus,” Schmidt said.
Along with increased engagement opportunities for students in the classroom, Rees-Jones also acts as a new place for students to study on campus until renovations to the library are completed.
“I actually love the study rooms and I love how its glass, and how you can see through everything,” said senior marketing major Emily Walden. “I love that it’s new.”
Faculty members housed in Rees-Jones say that with the positive reactions toward the technology, they are hoping more interactive classrooms for students can spread throughout campus.
“I’m not saying that technology is a magical solution to everything,” Schmidt said. “It just gives them more options.”