Monday, April 27, 2015

Ask the Masses: Active Learning in an Inflexible Space

We are posting a few of the questions from the Solution or Sympathy portion of the IL Interest Group session held during the spring 2015 IPAL Conference. There were several wonderful questions that were submitted but, unfortunately, we ran out of time to discuss them all. Leave your solution or sympathy response in the comments and help keep the great sharing going!

We have traditional long tables with computers in our IL classroom. How can we better facilitate active learning in an inflexible space? (Aside from stealing Drake’s chairs) :o)

Share your ideas in the comments!


  1. Is there enough room in the aisle to have the students group there? They could rotate one of the computers on the end of the row and use that.

    Is it possible to see a diagram of the original room? I know the person asking might have asked anonymously, but I'm just curious.

  2. In our instruction room (computer lab) there are desktop computers on individual desks like the person asking described. Depending on the size of the class, I group students either in smaller groups (2-3 so they can lean over with minimal problems) or have 2-3 students turn around and pair up with those sitting behind them. The computers are still in the way but students don't mind for the most part. Sometimes I have tried to come up with activities that get them out of the room and into other parts of the library... We also have an open room with tables for studying, I've toyed around with the idea of bringing laptops there for groups to work together. Not ideal but with creativity it can work.