Innovative Design Makes Learning More Interactive for Students and Faculty: AMX Technology Enhances State-of-the-Art Hearth Science Facility

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Students in the Net generation enter higher education with an expectation that cutting-edge technology will be a force in their academic experience, but its use comes with strict requirements at George Washington University, which in 2007 made a commitment to creating a more collaborative learning environment.

"Technology needs to advance learning and engage students," says P.B. Garrett, associate provost and chief academic technology officer for the university. "George Washington University is supportive of transformative pedagogical and curricular innovations that advance teaching and learning, which include new technology-enhanced active learning environments."

Meeting this challenge became ever more pressing when the school started to see tremendous growth, and plans emerged for an addition to its School of Public Health and Health Science Building and the construction of a new 700,000-square-foot research and teaching facility.

The university designed four new spaces that would also be used as models for future interactive learning environments. The largest is an 81-seat space that allows students to work in small groups, and features whiteboard walls, LCD screens, projection screens, PTZ cameras and ceiling mounted cameras. An AMX touch panel gives faculty members the ability to manage a wide range of audiovisual equipment. Two smaller spaces--one of which was dedicated to library use--rely on a variation of this design.

"We tried all different technologies, from super high-tech components to more conventional tools, as a way of assessing their effectiveness from a teaching and support standpoint," explains John Arpino, assistant director of engineering research and development at George Washington University. "These projects are models for our future collaborative learning space designs. …