STEM Transformation Institute opens new active learning classrooms

President Mark B. Rosenberg, Provost Kenneth G. Furton and Director Laird Kramer recently launched the STEM Transformation Institute. The institute is a multidisciplinary partnership paving the way for student success in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). It responds to several key recommendations made by the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology to meet the national imperative for more diverse scientists and engineers.

While FIU has maintain a long-standing commitment to excellence in the STEM disciplines, the institute brings all of the university's efforts together into a collaborative mission to transform STEM education from preschool through graduate school. Transformative institute approaches include implementing collaborative learning models and innovative pathways to increase the number, diversity and excellence of STEM graduates and teachers.

STEM Transformation Institute opens new active learning classrooms

Posted by Ayleen Barbel Fattal

As part of its commitment to improving STEM education, FIU’s STEM Transformation Institute has opened two state-of-the-art active learning classrooms in the new Academic Health Center 5 (AHC-5). Here, students put the textbooks away and tackle scientific challenges with a hands-on approach. The classrooms are the first of several designed to house active learning at a financially sustainable scale. Currently, six STEM courses are taught in AHC-5 with more than 350 students in its first semester of operation.

“All six of these classes required faculty to commit to active learning,” said Eric Brewe, physics education researcher for the institute. “These classrooms represent one way the STEM Transformation Institute is committed to expanding the reach of our active learning goals.”

Active learning classrooms are designed to optimize the way Modeling Instruction classes are taught. Data shows there is a positive attitudinal shift in the way students perceive introductory physics courses that use Modeling Instruction. It means, students are learning more and have better attitudes toward the science that they are learning. The classrooms have mobile tables, chairs and whiteboards to facilitate small and large group participation as well as engage students in activities that promote problem-solving, analysis, experimentation and discussion and other effective instructional techniques for the classroom.

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