Hi-tech haven for local students

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IOL nov 15 stellies simulated done . Professor Charm Cilliers in the new hi-tech lecture room. Picture Supplied

Cape Town - A hi-tech lecture room, where lecturers can play music to stimulate students’ brain function, and with a calming forest scene adorning one wall, has been created at Stellenbosch University.

The simulator lecture room, called Den Bosch, is part of attempts and research by the university to optimise learning and teaching.

Students taught in the simulator classroom sit on chairs with wheels, which they can “drive” around to form small discussion groups.

Professor Charl Cilliers, director of the centre for student counselling and development, said the room could be used as an experimental classroom for research into how the creativity levels of lecturers and their students could be increased.

“We tried to include a lot of the visuals we found in literature that could facilitate learning.”

Audio elements could also be used in the lecture room.

Cilliers said lecturers could, for example, play soft background sounds or music to students, like the sound of running water, while some of the walls have been painted in a specific green colour.

He said while chairs with wheels were not unusual, those designed for the room had some improvements. Not only could the chairs attach to each other for group discussions, each had a desk and space for a tablet computer on the seat.

Dr Sonja Strydom, from the university’s centre for teaching and learning, said that instead of a blackboard, lecturers could use a touch screen presentation computer, data projectors and document cameras, which could instantly display images of an object.

Lecturers could also make use of wireless microphones, which meant they could move around between their students instead of standing in the front of the lecture hall. - Cape Argus

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