About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 10282-10285
Publication year: 2021
ISBN: 978-84-09-27666-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2021.2145

Conference name: 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-9 March, 2021
Location: Online Conference


P. Lane1, R. Lafferty2

1Grand Valley State University/UNAN Managua (UNITED STATES)
2CEO/Chief Innovation Officer, Fusion Innovation Group (UNITED STATES)
It was September 2. COVID-19 was spreading in Michigan, and the authors sat preparing for class. They did not want to be in this face-to-face environment and, were prepared to move their class online. It was a simple decision for the safety of the students and the faculty.

It was not to be.

When the authors entered the classroom suggesting this class meet for its scheduled six hours today and then move online, the students rose in objection, and brought up several points.
1. This was, in many cases, the only class in which they would have a face-to-face interaction.
2. This class would be their own “freshmen experience.”
3. This class was to be their social network.
4. This class was to be experiential.

The authors agreed to give this some thought. They concluded that it would be good to teach a class of students who so desperately wanted to learn in a stimulating environment. What could be done to make it a true experience encompassing not only content, but socialization, a chance to get to know one another, and to get to know the university in new ways?

We began with food. The students were invited for supper during the break, with each bringing their own. For COVID-19 safety, the class moved outside to an enormous tent to eat together. Faculty and students shared stories and got to know one another in less formal ways than in the classroom. This activity migrated to hot dogs on the grill, to dinner inside, a taco buffet, etc. over the course of the semester. Sharing a meal with the class of 24 helped people to connect in new and different ways. Also, while eating, you could see whole faces and enjoy facial reactions if people were socially distanced.

In addition to meals, the authors learned that students enjoy the six-hour class to start with a bang. One day it was cupcakes, another day brownies, and then branching out were samosas from India and then home-made chips and dip. The idea was to open the class in an eventful way as the students had asked.

Activities were developed that worked with the topics. For example, each team chose a Lego person to their liking, then were told to go into the adjacent woods and find natural things to build their Lego persona an appropriate camp site. This became a very creative exercise when displayed on the outdoor stage. In the United States we celebrate Halloween in a big way and the class did it with thematic pumpkin carving. Other activities included an improv class, personas, a video story in the woods and many more.

This class is Design Thinking for Social Product Innovation. Stimulating creativity is a large part of the content in the fall, as well as learning about empathy and understanding other people and other cultures. Additionally, the students are learning about each other, the importance of social events, and experiencing learning made fun.

The authors believe the students were right in their challenges. They have led us to think about a six-hour class as a staged event with different levels of excitement including sharing ideas and food. In the process the authors learned much, and the students seem to be making great progress. In an age where students have been raised on technology and may need a lot of stimulation, flipping the classroom and making it project based may not be enough. It must have a bit of excitement and unexpectedness. Is it possible the next generation students are teaching the faculty how to create the next generation classroom?
author = {Lane, P. and Lafferty, R.},
series = {15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2021 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-27666-0},
issn = {2340-1079},
doi = {10.21125/inted.2021.2145},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/inted.2021.2145},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Online Conference},
month = {8-9 March, 2021},
year = {2021},
pages = {10282-10285}}
AU - P. Lane AU - R. Lafferty
SN - 978-84-09-27666-0/2340-1079
DO - 10.21125/inted.2021.2145
PY - 2021
Y1 - 8-9 March, 2021
CI - Online Conference
JO - 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2021 Proceedings
SP - 10282
EP - 10285
ER -
P. Lane, R. Lafferty (2021) A NEXT GENERATION CLASSROOM, AS CREATED BY THE NEXT GENERATION, INTED2021 Proceedings, pp. 10282-10285.