He emerged into the strangest-looking classroom he had ever seen. In fact, that didn"t look choose a classroom in ~ all, more like a cross in between someone"s attic and an old-fashioned tea shop. At the very least twenty small, circular tables were crammed within it, all surrounded by chintz armchairs and fat tiny poufs. Every little thing was lit through a dim, crimson light; the curtains in ~ the home windows were every closed, and also the many lamps were draped through red scarves. It was stiflingly warm, and the fire the was burning under the crowded mantelpiece was giving off a heavy, sickly sort of perfume together it boil a huge copper kettle. The shelves running around the circular walls were crammed through dusty-looking feathers, stubs the candles, many packs of tattered play cards, countless silvery decision balls, and a large array of teacups.1


The eco-friendly Psychology the Teaching and also Learning

This enchanting summary of a classroom in ~ the fictitious Hogwarts institution of Witchcraft and Wizardry catches three an essential ideas from the eco-friendly psychology that teaching and also learning. First, all learning takes ar in a physical environment with quantifiable and also perceptible physics characteristics. Whether sitting in a large lecture hall, underneath a tree, or in prior of a computer screen, students room engulfed by ecological information. Specific targets in ~ the environment attract the students" attention, such as armchairs, scarves, and teacups, and also they repetitively monitor the ambient properties such together the light of the lamps, the smell of the kettle, and also the warm of the fire. In any learning atmosphere students room awash in ecological information, just a small portion of i m sorry constitutes the sights and also sounds of instruction.

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Second, students perform not touch, see, or hear passively; lock feel, look, and also listen actively. College student cannot deal with all the eco-friendly information bombarding them at any kind of given time; their ability to gather and understand incoming information is limited. Through automatic and controlled processes, students pick information for consideration. They try to know what they room sensing through piecing bits of information together from the bottom up and also by applying existing thoughts and also preconceptions native the optimal down. A classroom with circular tables and also comfortable armchairs may look strange because it deviates native expectations created through front experience. College student may straight their attention to particular targets in the learning setting that lock find more interesting, important, or unfamiliar than others. For some, it might be the instructor"s engaging chemistry demonstration. Because that others, it might be the silvery crystal ball on the shelf. In any kind of learning environment, students regulate their limited cognitive resources by proactively selecting eco-friendly information for more consideration and also by using existing understanding structures to analyze this details in methods that have worked previously.

Third, the physical features of learning environments can affect learners emotionally, with essential cognitive and also behavioral consequences. Although emotional reactions to ecological stimuli have actually been shown to vary widely throughout individuals and also activities, most students would probably find learning challenging in a classroom the is stiflingly warm. Conversely, environments that elicit hopeful emotional responses may lead not just to intensified learning but additionally to a powerful, emotionally attachment to the space. The may become a place where college student love come learn, a place they look for out as soon as they wish to learn, and also a location they remember fondly as soon as they reflect ~ above their finding out experiences. In higher education, us hope to provide such areas for ours students come learn, also as we construct yet another huge lecture hall and also attempt come squeeze our students into crowded, noisy, and also uncomfortable spaces. Clearly, some learning atmospheres are an ext comfortable and offer fewer distractions 보다 others. In any learning environment, physical features that cause discomfort have the right to be supposed to interfere with learning; settings that produce positive emotionally states deserve to be expected to facilitate learning and also the advancement of location attachment.

The locations of psychology that relate most directly to great design and learning environments are environmental, educational, human determinants (engineering), and also social psychology. Previous research study on the impacts of such eco-friendly variables as light, temperature, and noise on learning has actually yielded part predictable outcomes that space addressed through classic classroom design. Learning appears to be impacted adversely by poor light, excessive temperatures, and also loud noises—variables kept within acceptable ranges in most college classrooms. Various other results, however, reflect the frequently complex, subtle, and also surprising interplay in between the learner and the discovering environment. Years of research on the affect of ecological variables on human being thoughts, feelings, and behaviors suggest that various other variables regularly moderate the results of eco-friendly variables. In a summary of the research study on educational environments, Weinstein2 break up that eco-friendly variables can affect learners indirectly and also that the effects of various physical settings regularly depend top top the nature of the task and also the learner. Because that example, distracting noises appear to sluggish reaction time and also degrade performance to a greater level in older versus younger adults3 and also for introverts come a greater level than extraverts.4

Research top top the impact of information modern technology on learning settings is no as voluminous. The presence and also application of an innovation changes the discovering environment, both directly and indirectly. This chapter concentrates on the mental underpinnings of three such transforms with significant implications because that the architecture of college finding out environments:

the enhanced presence that personal, networked devices (for example, wireless laptops and also cellular phones) in the classroom,the hike of course content to the Web and also the subsequent change in classroom task from information delivery to collaboration, andthe enhancing importance the virtual learning environments.

Devices and Distraction in college Classrooms

Laptops and other mobile tools have great potential to enhance and also transform instruction and also are being used successfully in plenty of college classrooms.5 Today"s students usage their tools in class to take notes, access materials and applications, and also find appropriate information. When all students in a class can accessibility networked devices simultaneously, many collaborative learning and just-in-time teaching opportunities emerge. There is a dark side to the existence of personal, networked gadgets in class, however—when students use them to communicate in tasks unrelated come coursework.

Students have always found ways, other than listening to the instructor, to happen the time during class. Crossword puzzles, doodling, and daydreams have occupied students" psychic during an ext classes than we care to admit. At an initial glance, it shows up that the wireless laptop, PDA, iPod, and also cellular call are simply the crossword puzzle puzzles that today"s college classrooms. As said by the comment below, however, the issue is more complex. Yesterday"s students walk not have actually 24 x 7 online accessibility to all of the contents presented throughout a common lecture-based class, did not discover the crossword puzzle gift tackled by the college student sitting alongside them particularly distracting, and also were not themselves as tempted by a crossword puzzle as by prompt messaging or one immersive virtual game. In addition, a grasp of students in a huge lecture hall working on crossword puzzles go not change the physical environment for instructors.

When a teacher is increase there reading his slides and I have the right to go home and look at them later, Solitaire deserve to be a temptation—let alone my email messages the I"m checking. It"s type of a dull truth, but sitting in the earlier of the classroom, it"s not just me. Girlfriend look around and all you view is Solitaire, e-mail.6

The computers interfere with making eye contact. You"ve acquired this picket fence between you and the students.7

In enhancement to the sensory wealth of internet sites and also online games, today"s mobile tools convey social information, among the most powerful targets of attention. We seem an especially attuned to this information, whether studying people"s faces and also body activities or hearne to human being talk. In addition, the software application applications used to mediate communication are designed to grab the user"s attention. Microsoft MSN Messenger, a popular instant messaging client, provides a visible and also audible signal as soon as a member of your buddy list starts the application and also when a message is received. It has actually a "nudge" attribute that gift a distinctive sound and also animation when you desire to lure the attention of a buddy, shiver the messaging home window back and also forth ~ above the buddy"s screen. It has actually a "wink" function that allows you to send animations come a buddy, such together the big set of knuckles shown in number 1 that appear to lab on the within of your buddy"s screen. Even if students do every effort to pay attention to the instructor, instant messaging applications space designed to capture their attention, and the social info conveyed is most likely too alluring for most students to ignore.

Figure 1. MSN Messenger "Wink"

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To better understand the potential of today"s mobile devices to odor students, it might be valuable to evaluation some that the an easy principles the attention.8 attention is perhaps finest represented not as a single process but as an organized collection of steps through which us select details environmental stimuli or inputs because that cognitive processing.9 the is generally held that only one input is handle consciously. This might be referred to as the attended input. Every other ecological stimuli (for example, lift noise, the temperature of the room) room processed unconsciously. These are the unattended inputs. Unconscious security detects transforms in inputs to which we are not attending consciously, but that can be important. What constitutes an essential change is probably determined by another process, referred to right here as the attention controller, which may push the info into mindful awareness.10 This might result in the selection of a new attended input, a shift in attention perceived as either controlled and selective or unexpected and distracting.

We have all competent the sudden conscious awareness of one unattended input. The so-called cocktail party effect11 occurs once you hear your name mentioned somewhere in a crowded room together you interact in a discussion with who else. Even as you attend to the discussion, presumably girlfriend monitor other sounds in the room unconsciously. Your fist controller detects an important stimulus—your name—which causes you to shift your conscious attention far from your discussion.

Using these an easy concepts, the distracting nature of mobile tools in the classroom have the right to be recast. Provided two potential inputs, the instructor or a laptop display screen displaying a video game of Solitaire, some students choose the instructor together the attend input and also the laptop together the unattended input. Those who room trying to hear to your instructor and also find your attention captured by their own or an additional student"s laptop screen are distracted by that device. This can be problematic in a class environment, together it interferes through students" capacity to procedure course-related information and prevents them from obtaining result (specifically, learning) lock desire and also expect to receive, a common reason of frustration, anger, and aggression.12 This emotional an answer is probably much more pronounced when students are distracted by others" gadgets over i m sorry they have actually no control.

As much as we hope the all students choose their instructors together the main target of their attention throughout class, we recognize that some select the video game of Solitaire, relegating the instructor to the status of unattended input. This is often defined erroneously as distraction. In fact, these students are not distracted by your devices; they have selected them for attention. If anything, this students may discover themselves distracted by the instructor. This is most likely what passes together multitasking for countless students. They resolve e-mail, immediate messages, and other unrelated, device-based information throughout class, while monitoring the instructional stream unconsciously. Their fist controllers are collection to answer to crucial signals, such as the phrase, "This will certainly be top top the test." In the classroom variation of the cocktail party effect, students" fist then snaps to the instructor.

Although the difficulty in this situation is one of student motivation, not distraction, the two are closely related. As more students decision to instant message or play digital games during class, the volume and range of possibly distracting environmental information increases, making it more difficult for urged learners to attend to the instructor. What affect does this have actually on class design? an initial and foremost, instructors must be able to engage student in the learning procedure during class time, and classrooms have to be designed to facilitate that engagement. The is daunting for student to address other activities when they space talking to an instructor, functioning on a group activity, or making use of their devices for scholastic purposes. Instead of banning prompt messaging in class, instructors could be sustained in their usage of this and other social modern technologies to facilitate class-related discussion and collaborative work.

Attempting come prohibit the use of gadgets in class through edict or facilities (for example, installation an web kill switch) is costly and does small to deal with the basic problem. That is preferable to design classrooms and classroom computing policies that allow instructors to exercise higher social control. In the instance of laptops in the classroom, displays should be conveniently visible come instructors as they walk about the room, and instructors should be able to display any student"s laptop screen to a public screen at a moment"s notice. In large classes, software application that permits instructors to see thumbnail images of each student"s display (for example, DyKnow monitor or clever SynchronEyes) may additionally be useful. Although many instructors are probably not interested in safety time top top what feels choose student surveillance, the mere presence of these methods merged with clear classroom policies supplies a an excellent classroom administration solution that allows students proceed using their devices for academic purposes.

Through your behavior, some students are telling us that they feeling neither the require nor the desire to pay close fist to the instructor throughout some classes. Normally speaking, this is nothing new. However, those responsible for developing learning spaces need to be conscious that today"s incarnation the this problem requires additional study. Today"s gadgets are colliding with yesterday"s methods. What takes location in a university classroom is changing, due in huge part to the an extremely information modern technology that gives some instructors and also administrators reason for concern. The classroom is no much longer a ar where info is delivered to passive students. A growing variety of students obtain that information elsewhere and also do not expect to hear it repetitive verbatim in class. Instead, the classroom is ending up being an interactive, collaborative atmosphere where understanding is created actively by students, countless of whom have gadgets that space as lot a component of them together their own skin and that can be a really important component of this process.

Collaboration in the Classroom

Although planning because that data projection and network accessibility is an important part the today"s classroom design process, information an innovation is most likely to have actually an even greater indirect result on how fixed-site classrooms are supplied in the future. The migration come the net of the content traditionally ceded by instructors in lecture style is helping shift the duty served by brick-and-mortar classrooms indigenous information shipment to collaboration and also discussion. Collaborative learning refers to a wide selection of "educational activities in which person relationships room the an essential to welfare, achievement, and also mastery," within faculty "help students find out by working with each other on substantive issues."13 Surveys indicate that lecture is quiet the most common instructional method used by university educators in the joined States.14 Nonetheless, the change from lecture to collaboration is well under way.

What influence does this have on classroom design? This fundamental change will challenge designers to create environments the facilitate collaborative activities. Rather of theaters where students clock instructors perform, classrooms need to be versatile meeting places. Bruffee15 described the ideal classroom for collaborative learning:

A level floor, movable seats, chalkboards on 3 or 4 walls, managed acoustics (acoustical-tiled ceilings and also carpeted floors), and no central seminar table (or one that have the right to be thrust well out of the method without threaten an assault of lumbago). An different is six to ten movable four- or five-sided tables of around card-table size.

This description implies a maximum class size the 50 students. The question of classroom thickness is critical one: Researchers have explored the psychological and educational results of classroom density, both spatial (the size of the room) and social (the number of students). In their meta-analysis of 77 different studies ~ above this issue, Glass and also Smith16 finish that higher social density results in lower student achievement. When designing collaborative classrooms, a great social thickness benchmark is 3 to 5 groups the 6 come 12 students each. Spatial thickness should be such the both students and also instructors have sufficient room to move easily from team to group (specifically, 4 to 7 feet between groups). Designers should also pay cautious attention come the degree to i beg your pardon students feeling crowded in a classroom. The experience of crowding in education settings appears related to an individual space violation.17 Research suggests that teams of students have the right to be expected to occupational together most properly at personal distances of 2 come 4 feet without feeling crowded.

Although class size is a limiting variable when implementing particular collaborative learning activities comfortably, tiny group collaboration and also discussion are much easier to regulate in large classes than plenty of instructors realize. Informal small group techniques like think-pair-share,18 inside students think briefly around a concern posed by the instructor, talk about their thoughts v a student sitting next to them, and then share their joint thoughts through the class, space feasible in huge classes19 and can be helped with by technology. An ext formal tasks such as jigsaw groups and also structured debate can likewise engage college student in large classes.20

Classroom solution systems or "clickers" are offered by a growing variety of instructors come gather college student feedback and also stimulate in-class discussion. In class that enable group network access, a wide variety of groupware tools deserve to support participation in teams of all sizes. DyKnow Vision permits students come view and also annotate instructor whiteboard activity in actual time. Instructors deserve to then invite students come the digital whiteboard, displaying their occupational to the entire class. GroupSystems is a suite of tools for supporting idea generation, organization, and also evaluation in face-to-face and distributed groups.

Virtual discovering Environments

Today"s student spend boosting amount of your time peering at computer screens. These virtual atmospheres have physical qualities that are simply as real as those that a dormitory room or a brick-and-mortar classroom, and also students can come to be just as attached to them. ~ above one end of the continuum are virtual civilizations that emulate a natural, multidimensional environment. Many students subscribe to enormous multiplayer online games such together World of Warcraft, inside they build personas or "avatars," take trip from town to town, acquire property, satisfy other people, and also solve problems. ~ above the other end of the spectrum are the online job-related spaces that students usage every day, such as course monitoring systems and campus portals. What in in between are applications such together Facebook and MySpace, or persistent, customizable, society spaces that absence the immersive features of digital worlds but are more open, recreational, and social 보다 campus work spaces.

Although many administrators and also instructors are acquainted with course administration systems and campus portals, fewer have actually experience v virtual worlds and also may question their scholastic relevance. A an excellent example that a virtual world used together a great is Second Life, one online atmosphere designed to assistance creativity, collaboration, commerce, and entertainment. Return members have the right to play gamings in this world, the atmosphere itself is no a video game in the timeless sense. Instead, that is an open environment (what part call man-made reality) whereby members can interact with each other and build points (for example, buildings, games, clothing, furniture) for usage within the virtual world. A growing community of educators offers Second Life for instructional purposes. In loss 2005, the school of design at The university of Texas in ~ Austin supplied Second Life in the course making Digital Communities, and also Southern new Hampshire University provided it in development to global Business. Number 2 shows a snapshot of my Second Life avatar, Hoptoad Flan, enjoying a relaxing moment.

Figure 2. Second Life Avatar Hoptoad Flan

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What impact does this have actually on class design? First, campuses have the right to expect the boundaries in between virtual and also brick-and-mortar learning settings to continue to blur. Students and also instructors will need accessibility to their virtual learning settings while sit in their brick-and-mortar classrooms. Second, together campuses expropriate the notion that online spaces are actually classrooms, they can begin to apply the very same care and also consideration come decisions about course monitoring systems and campus portals as they perform to decision about new construction and renovation. That utmost importance is the use of these online spaces.

A famous model the usability21 identifies five criteria for specifying a usable system:

Learnability describes the speed and also ease with which a novice user can achieve proficiency v the system.Efficiency describes the level to i m sorry the device supports the performance of an experienced user in the shortest amount of time and also with the fewest steps.Memorability describes the degree to i m sorry a user, an especially an intermittent or casual user, can remember exactly how to attain a job using the system, the measures of which to be learned previously.Errors refer to the number of mistakes and also missteps do by users.Satisfaction refers to the users" as whole emotional experience as soon as using the system.Careful, objective use analyses of usual digital environments should be conducted and also problems must be handle using similar decision-making processes and with the same sense the urgency the campuses apply when addressing bad conditions in brick-and-mortar classrooms.

College Classrooms of an enig and Enchantment

As students get in a virtual or brick-and-mortar learning environment, they form a cognitive impression that that room and suffer an linked emotional response, just as take care of Potter did as soon as he gotten in his Divination classroom. People"s choice for certain environments appears to rely on your cognitive impression. Kaplan and Kaplan22 said four cognitive components of environmental preference:

Coherence, or the ease with which a setup can be arranged cognitivelyComplexity, or the viewed capacity that the setting to accounting interest and also stimulate activityLegibility, or perceived ease of useMystery, or the perception the entering the setup would lead to increased learning, interaction, or interest

An interesting addition to this list can be the principle of enchantment. Bennett23 explained enchantment as the suffer of gift "both caught up and carried away." once enchanted by what we space experiencing, we are organized spellbound, our senses seem heightened,24 and we are captured in a moment of pure existence that we shot to maintain.25

Students probably find today"s brick-and-mortar college classrooms quite coherent and legible. They make perfect feeling to those who suppose to sit, encountering forward, and also listen quietly. Virtual learning settings may lack some the this coherence and also legibility however are more than likely perceived together more facility and mysterious. What of enchantment? our students room enchanted by functions of art, music performances, and also breathtaking landscapes, but do they uncover our learning atmospheres enchanting? We can all remind our favourite classroom and also our favorite ar to examine as students. Us all relate to Harry Potter walking right into a class on the an initial day the school and experiencing a sense of awe and wonder in ~ the feathers, stubs of candles, packs of tattered play cards, and silvery crystal balls top top the shelves. It is feasible to develop learning atmospheres from both brick-and-mortar and also bits-and-bytes that draw students in and also elicit a feeling of secret and enchantment. Together we respond to the increased presence the networked devices, the change from lecture to collaboration, and also the farming importance of online environments and also build the classrooms the the future the facilitate usability, engagement, collaboration, and also learning, us would perform well to remember what the was around learning atmospheres that enchanted us and also commit ourselves to preserving, restoring, and also creating those experiences because that our very own students.

Endnotes

J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the sinner of Azkaban (New York: Scholastic Press, 1999), p. 101.Carol S. Weinstein, "The Physical setting of School: A review of the Research," Review of education Research, vol. 49, no. 4 (Autumn 1979), pp. 577–610.Richard J. Jennings, Robert Nebs, and also Kay Brock, "Memory Retrieval in Noise and Psychophysiological response in the Young and also Old," Psychophysiology, vol. 25, no. 6 (1988), pp. 633–644.Russell G. Geen, Eugene J. McCown, and also James W. Broyles, "Effects of Noise on Sensitivity the Introverts and Extraverts to signals in a Vigilance Task," Personality and also Individual Differences, vol. 6, no. 2 (1985), pp. 237–241.Linda B. Nilson and Barbara E. Weaver, eds., New Directions for Teaching and Learning: boosting Learning with laptop computers in the Classroom (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2005)."AskTheStudents.com: 4 views from the Frontline," Chronicle of greater Education, December 9, 2005; obtainable by subscription at .The cognitive science of attention and consciousness is a large area the study. There is substantial debate in ~ the field over the processes involved. The model and also ideas presented here are generalizations and also represent only one approach. Those interested in learning an ext should above Harold E. Pashler, The Psychology that Attention (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1998); Raja Parasuraman, ed., The Attentive Brain (Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press, 1998; and Elizabeth A. Styles, The Psychology the Attention (East Sussex, U.K.: Psychology press Ltd., 1997).Arnold L. Glass, Keith J. Holyoak, and also John. L. Santa, Cognition (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley publishing Company, 1979).Ibid.Leonard Berkowitz, "Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis: Examination and Reformulation," Psychological Bulletin, vol. 106, no. 1 (1989), pp. 59–73.Kenneth A. Bruffee, Collaborative Learning: higher Education, Interdependence, and the authority of Knowledge, 2nd Ed. (Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins college Press, 1999).Donald A. Bligh,What"s the usage of Lectures? (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000).Bruffee, op. Cit., p. 259.Gene V. Glass and Mary L. Smith, "Meta-Analysis of research on the partnership of class Size and also Achievement," Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, vol. 1, no. 1 (1979), pp. 2–16.Yakov M. Epstein and Robert A. Karlin, "Effects of Acute speculative Crowding," Journal of used Social Psychology, vol. 5, no. 1 (1975), pp. 34–53.Frank Lyman, "The Responsive class Discussion," in Mainstreaming Digest, A. S. Anderson, ed. (College Park, Md.: college of Maryland university of Education, 1981).James L. Cooper and also Pamela P. Robinson, "Getting Started: not blocked Small-Group tactics in big Classes," in New Directions for Teaching and Learning—Strategies because that Energizing large Classes: From little Groups to discovering Communities, Jean MacGregor et al., eds. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 2000), pp. 17–24.Karl A. Smith, "Structured Controversy," Engineering Education, vol. 74, no. 5 (1984), pp. 306–309.Jakob Neilson, Usability Engineering (San Francisco: Morgan Kaufman, 1993).Stephen Kaplan and also Rachael Kaplan, Cognition and Environment: work in an uncertain World (New York: Praeger, 1982).Jane Bennett, The enchantment of modern Life: Attachments, Crossings, and also Ethics (Princeton, N.J.: The Princeton college Press, 2001), p. 5.John McCarthy and Peter Wright, "The charm of Technology," in Funology: From functionality to Enjoyment, note A. Blythe et al., eds. (The Netherlands: Kluwer academic Publishers, 2004), pp. 81–90.Philip Fisher, Wonder, the Rainbow, and also the Aesthetics of rare Experiences (Boston, Mass.: Harvard university Press, 1998).

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About the Author

Ken A. Graetz is the manager of e-learning in ~ Winona State University, whereby he is involved in the advance of learning methods for WSU faculty and staff members, e-learning task management and support, and numerous research study and development projects. His research interests incorporate team and group dynamics, society cognition, psychometrics, and computer-supported collaborative work. Graetz received a phd in psychology native the college of phibìc Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1992.