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MacVicar Day highlights classroom technology

Rooms 26-100 and 10-250 are traditional lecture halls. Generations of MIT students have filled the rows of seats to attend lectures in these rooms.

Modern classrooms look very different, and the teaching and learning that take place in them have changed just as dramatically. MacVicar Day activities on Friday, March 7 will highlight the relationship between the rethinking of effective educational methods and the changes to the physical space in which teaching and learning take place.

The activities will begin at 3 p.m. in 10-250 with a presentation by William J. Mitchell, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning, entitled "Places for Learning: New Functions and New Form." He will speak about the integral relationship between educational and architectural goals that is reflected in the recent building and renovation projects at MIT.

From 4 to 5:30 p.m., the community is invited to visit six renovated classrooms where faculty and students will talk about the transformed teaching and learning that takes places in these spaces. The classrooms that will be open are:

33-116--Aeronautics and Astronautics Learning Laboratory

The Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics' Guggenheim Laboratory has been renovated and expanded, creating the flexible Learning Laboratory for Complex Systems, which combines classroom and hands-on learning to teach engineering process skills in a methodology called "CDIO" (conceive, design, implement, operate).

26-152--TEAL (Technology Enabled Active Learning)

Introductory physics is presented in a new format that integrates lecture, recitation and laboratory experiments. Animations and simulations help students visualize complex concepts, especially in electromagnetism.

10-337--TEP (Teacher Education Program)

The TEP space supports a dual mission: to develop a group of undergraduates who will become the science and math teachers of tomorrow, and to work with in-service teachers to bring the "MIT experience" to their classrooms. The space is designed to integrate on- and off-computer work, and to facilitate collaboration.

7-432--Undergraduate Architecture Studio

The renovated studios in the School of Architecture introduce undergraduates to the skills needed for building in contemporary cities. For the most part, computers have replaced drafting tables; all the studios are equipped with network drops and CAD workstations as well as with ISDN lines for videoconferencing.

4-231--The Shakespeare Electronic Archive

The Shakespeare Electronic Archive will be featured in one of the recently renovated all-purpose classrooms that incorporates network and wireless connectivity. The Shakespeare project has been constructing electronic environments for teaching and research based on digital copies of primary documents in all media.

3-370--Park Room for Innovative Education

The B.J. Park and Chunghi Park Room for Innovative Education is being used for active learning initiatives in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. It lets groups of students conduct desktop experiments and use web-based modules to illuminate lecture content.

Brochures with maps and descriptions of the classrooms will be available. To obtain a brochure in advance, contact Helen Samuels at

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 26, 2003.

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