International Forum on Active Learning Classrooms (day 1)

The International Forum on Active Learning Classrooms started today (even though there has been one day of pre-conference plus two days of pre-conference for the Rum för lärande network).

Adam Finkelstein (@adamfdotnet) started off our day with myths and challenges. One of the things he brought up that I found really interesting was the definition of spaces in regards to distance from you. Wikipedia tells me this is called proxemics and was coined by Edward T Hall in 1963.

Intimate space: 0 - 0.45 m. Personal space: 0.45 - 1.2 m. Social space: 1.2 - 3.6 m. Public space: 3.6 - 7.6 m.

Proxemics. Source:

Proxemics is an argument for placing the lectern in the middle of the room. In the public space the best you can hope for is projection. Adam compared the social space to being at a cocktail party. At that distance you can start to interact with people, catch their eye, etc.

Cindy Finelli and Aaron Johnson from the University of Michigan led a very helpful session about flexible room design. Images of the room designs we came up with will be posted on the resource page for IFALC. We were presented with a situation where the screens and whiteboards are fixed but the tables and chairs can be moved around. The prompt was to reorganize the tables and chairs to suit different active learning activities. This was a good exercise for me since I’m planning FutureLab-Teorifagbygget 2.0.

One more day of the conference left. This has been an excellent opportunity for me to really focus on what to do with ALCs at UiT. On a related note, I need to figure out how to register UiT on the Scale Up map of ALCs worldwide so that we can recognized as the world’s northernmost ALCs. I’ll also register UiT on Flexspace as soon as I get back in front of a real computer.

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