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July 20, 2020 7:53 AM

Conestoga awarded active learning education grant

Conestoga has been awarded an Active Learning Center Grant from Steelcase Education. Open to schools, colleges and universities in Canada, Mexico and the United States and its territories, the grant funds learning opportunities designed to engage, empower and enable faculty in the practice of active learning.

“Our teaching philosophy is grounded in inquiry-driven, applied learning that provides our students with opportunities to solve real-world problems for our communities,” said Kathryn Brillinger, director of Teaching and Learning. “The active learning project we plan to execute through the grant will be a key element in continuing to develop and transform learning for our students. We are shaping new learning realities for our students in which they can collaborate and create together even if they are not always physically in the same space. We are grateful to Steelcase Education for its investment in our college.”

Conestoga is among four institutions to be awarded the 2020 grant and was the only Canadian recipient selected.

The grants, which total $132,000 per institution, help create active learning ecosystems that support pedagogy, technology and space as an integrated whole. Active learning classrooms engage learners through discussions, problem solving and case studies and other ways that encourage students to share their applied learning and skills.

At Conestoga, the funding will be used to design, furnish and install an active learning classroom featuring accessible lecterns, enhanced interactive presentation tools, multiple presentation screens and tabletop power sources for each student. Throughout the two-year grant period, the college will also receive services and support from Steelcase to achieve and sustain the goals of active learning.

The college has already adopted elements of active learning through the use of moveable tables and chairs and multiple projectors and whiteboards. These Technologically Enhanced Active Learning (TEAL) classrooms combine technology and active learning and serve as the standard for all new classroom spaces. Extensive training has also been developed to support faculty in the delivery of active learning - both in the classroom and through remote delivery as a result of COVID-19.

Leading the Steelcase project will be a core team of Conestoga Teaching and Learning consultants working in partnership with a group of vocational education experts committed to advancing the quality of instruction and student engagement through active learning teaching practices. Professors selected to teach in the Steelcase Active Learning room will have the opportunity to engage in additional skills development prior to teaching in the space when it opens in 2021.

Participating faculty will be supported by the Teaching and Learning team throughout the two-year grant period with supportive teaching observations, personalized coaching and development sessions and in developing active teaching models specific to their subject matter.

The research component of this project will contribute to furthering the scholarship of teaching and learning in hybrid and remote delivery contexts, and will be shared with the broader college community across Canada.

Conestoga’s Teaching and Learning team promotes faculty orientation and development at Conestoga through a suite of services that include workshops, developmental observations, teaching tools, resources and consultations.

Visit Teaching & Learning for more information.

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