Student-centered Learning Space by Design: the new Griffin Room
“Change is inevitable; growth is optional,” declared some unknown sage. As faculty and students returned to campus they discovered that Falvey has continued to change and grow over the summer months with the construction of a state-of-the-art environment for teaching library research skills, the new Griffin Room.
As the successor to the classroom formerly located on the second floor, the new instruction room will likewise be dedicated to the memory of Mary Ann Griffin, Ed.D., director of Falvey Memorial Library from 1984 until her untimely death in 1995. A resource long desired and planned by Dr. Griffin, the first classroom was constructed in the mid 90s and was state-of-the-art for its time. It featured an instructor station, 14 student stations, projection capabilities and even a cable-mediated classroom control system allowing librarians to transmit the instructor station image directly onto the students’ screens, effectively preventing them from yielding to distractions such as e-mail.
Starting with its larger seating capacity that more comfortably accommodates larger classes, flexibility permeates every feature of the new Griffin Room, located on Falvey’s first floor. The clustered table arrangement allows librarians to use a wide variety of pedagogical methods, from lectures and demonstrations to hands-on group activities that capitalize on the social learning style of today’s students. The caster-mounted chairs provide each student the best view of one of two 65-inch plasma display screens.
The teaching/learning space can be divided into two independently functioning smaller classrooms, each with its own instructor station. The podium installed on the primary side is equipped with a Sympodium, the new type of SMART Board that allows the instructor to write on the screen with digital "ink," creating dynamic lessons that can then be saved.
SynchronEyes software allows the instructing librarian not only to control the student PCs but also to administer polls and quizzes.
Designed by a team of experienced professionals drawn from the Library, Facilities and University Information Technologies (including Media Technologies, Center for Instructional Technologies, Technology Support Services and Network & Communications), the new Griffin Room will evolve with emerging technologies.
When library instruction classes are not in session, the Griffin Room is available to the University community as a Wildcard-accessible computer lab with network printing capabilities. The room also features supplemental wireless access for the convenience of users wishing to work on their own laptops or those borrowed from the Library.
The new Griffin Room, however, is not just high-tech bells and whistles. Rather, it represents our renewed invitation to our students to evolve and grow and learn with us.
Contributed and photographed by Barbara Quintiliano