A Quebec based Dawson College has made history, by installing what it claims to be the world’s largest visual collaboration system in a single classroom – transforming its walls into a giant 17m, digital workspace.
The install is made up of eight ‘Nureva Walls’, which combine a panoramic projector system with a cloud-based service and personal apps to enable active student collaboration.
This is designed to enhances active learning by providing students with more powerful tools for collaboration and expanded interactive space where they can create, visualise and manipulate learning objects while building knowledge together.
The new classroom has one triple Nureva Wall that creates a 21ft (6.40 m) wide digital space, two dual 14ft (4.27 m) systems and one single 7ft (2.13 m) system, along with its cloud-based Span software. The result, it says, is a “richly immersive experience” that enables student groups to seamlessly view, interact with and share large amounts of information at the digital wall or from their smartphones, laptops or tablets.
“We knew the Nureva visual collaboration solution was going to be fun to use, but we didn’t understand how deeply impactful some of the capacities of the technology, particularly Span software, would be as a pedagogical tool,” says Chris Whittaker, physics professor and co-coordinator of the Active Learning Classroom (ALC) initiative at Dawson College. “Some professors who have been in the interactive whiteboard high-tech rooms for years have just been blown away by what they can now do in the new Nureva room.”
Elizabeth Charles, educational technology researcher and ALC co-coordinator added: “When the Nureva Walls are linked, it feels very immersive, because you’re in one continuous space. How students might react to the linked canvas on multiple surfaces is a new experience, so we will be exploring that in a research project to learn how it helps people who are working collaboratively.”
Dawson College has 10,000 students and 600 faculty members and is part of Quebec’s unique Collège d’enseignement général et professionnels (CEGEP) network, which includes colleges that provide a bridge between high school and university.
The college already had two high-tech active-learning classrooms with seven interactive whiteboards for student groups to use for collaboration.