GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Dec. 04, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Steelcase Education is seeking innovative educators and educational institutions looking to implement and expand active learning initiatives to apply for its sixth annual Active Learning Center Grant. The company will award up to 10 grants to select 6-12 schools, colleges or universities, providing one active learning classroom, including furniture, design review, installation, onsite training, pre- and post-occupancy measurement tools and a new suite of transformation strategy services.
Today’s teachers are tasked with preparing students for workplaces that require both hard and soft skills – technical knowledge blended with the ability to communicate, collaborate and work in teams. It’s this new range of skills that has led many leading educators and institutions to implement active learning pedagogies. Active learning requires engaging students with hands-on group work, discussion, synthesis and analysis.
It’s no small task to challenge existing models and transform teaching and learning. While research shows that the physical environment can enhance learning1, educators remain the number one factor predicting student achievement.2 For this reason, the grant now funds professional learning opportunities designed to engage, empower and enable faculty in the practice of active learning so that they can achieve desired experiences and outcomes. In addition, the grant offers a new comprehensive suite of transformation strategy services to support the adoption, quality of practice and sustainability of the active learning environment.
1 D. Christopher Brooks, British Journal of Education Technology, 2010.
2 Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement, NY: Routledge.
These services will include:
- Visioning workshop with stakeholders
- Gap Analysis to help manage the transformation journey
- Bi-monthly follow-up conversations to gauge progress and identify opportunities to improve.
“For many learning institutions, it’s a challenge to shift from passive to active learning. We often see a change in their pedagogies and technologies but a lack of physical spaces that encourage the movement, collaboration and various learning modes needed to support active learning,” said Madelyn Hankins, Steelcase Education general manager. “By connecting space, pedagogy and technology in an active learning classroom, schools can create active learning environments that increase student learning, innovation, creativity and ultimately enhance student success.”
Grant recipients choose from three classroom layouts designed for up to 30 students, valued at $132,000. Eligible classrooms must be located in the United States, U.S. Territories, Puerto Rico, Canada or Mexico. In the first five years, sixty-eight middle schools, high schools and colleges and universities have benefited from Steelcase Education’s investment of more than $4.3 million in creating flexible classroom environments that promote the advancement of active learning.
“For past grantees, the flexible classroom furnishings have allowed for more interactive, collaborative and participatory learning experiences,” said Jami Moyer, leader of the Steelcase Active Learning Center Grant. “At recipient schools, active learning spaces provided by Steelcase Education have completely changed the paradigm of the classroom. We’re looking forward to building on the success of these classrooms with our additional transformative services that will support the achievement and ongoing sustainability of each recipient’s active learning goals.”
Grant recipients agree to provide sufficient dedicated space, participate in Steelcase Education onsite training, and conduct and share research related to the Active Learning Center over a two-year period.
Learning from Past Recipients
Dr. Julie Marshall, seventh-grade teacher at past ALC Grant recipient Saluda Trail Middle School, reported:
- Completed assignments increased from 53% to 97%
- Year-end student grades averaged an increase in a whole letter grade
- 30% increase in the number of students exceeding their Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) goal
As lifelong learners, Steelcase Education aims to make a difference in education. For students, educators and designers, the organization creates the most effective, rewarding and inspiring learning spaces. As a dedicated group within Steelcase exclusively focused on education, it brings evidence-based design, technology and innovative solutions to education environments, wherever learning happens.