Many different activities occur in a SCALE-UP classroom, including group discussions, hands-on projects, multi-part problems, interactive modules, demos, simulations, experiments, presentations, labs, competitions, and “clicker questions” that check for understanding or otherwise engage students. All of these activities can impact the technology required in the classroom—and the way the components are arranged.
Incorporating the right technology into SCALE-UP classwork facilitates the learning process, enabling independent research, audio and video presentations, interactive activities, class-wide sharing, and more. For example, students can use projection and screen-sharing technology to share ideas or solutions with their teams or with the whole class. Instructors can use technology to essentially combine a lecture hall, A/V room, and lab into one space.
SCALE-UP classrooms are typically arranged in tables of nine students, with the instructor’s workstation in a central location. Students may be divided into three teams, each of which shares a computer, or a computer may be shared among the whole table. Whiteboards and/or flat-panel displays are strategically arranged on perimeter walls, so every student has good access and visibility. Ideally, every student can see every other student as well. Of course, Wi-Fi, adequate charging stations, and whiteboards are critical. For larger spaces, microphones and other audio equipment may be required.
A recent study shows that whiteboard space, in particular, is the single most critical component in the SCALE-UP classroom. SCALE-UP students themselves have indicated in surveys that whiteboards have enhanced their learning experiences. Whiteboards also top the list of key SCALE-UP components as ranked by the American Association of Physics Teachers, followed by student computers, and projection and screen-sharing equipment.
While SCALE-UP classrooms may not seat as many students as a lecture hall, the entire space is dedicated to student learning. Technology that is well chosen and well placed enables the most productive and efficient use of that space. It also provides students the opportunity to develop technological skills, particularly when it comes to facilitating presentations and collaboration.