Pioneer active learning room inaugurated at UMinho

A Study Room that puts the student as the central element of the learning process

The University of Minho (UMinho) inaugurated on May 28 an active learning room with innovative technology. This new space is flexible and adaptable to the different needs of working groups and focuses on learning by discovery, providing the student a central role in the learning process. The room will be located in Building 2 of the Gualtar campus, in Braga, and was inaugurated in a ceremony attended by the rector of UMinho and the family of André Cruz de Carvalho, a student of the degree in Computer Engineering at the School of Engineering, who passed away in the last decade and will be honoured.

In this new space, students will be able to use their digital devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops) in an innovative way. They will have at their disposal a technology used for the first time in Portugal and that allows them to share their device on the six screens available in the room. The use of their devices brings the classroom work closer to real world experiences, allowing students to discover, in a more active way, solutions to problems and situations posed by teachers. The spatial layout and the use of innovative technological components will optimize this learning process that aims to equip students with skills for the future, such as critical thinking and the ability to generate issues relevant to society.

“It is a model that advocates a different relationship between students and content than is conventional,” explains Manuel João Costa, pro-rector of UMinho for Student Affairs and Pedagogical Innovation. “This room allows for the work of important skills for the students’ active life”, adds the responsible, explaining that “education is changing and UMinho is looking for, in its training structure, innovative learning models that provide students with skills for the future”.

This new space has features already used in some similar universities in Europe and the United States of America and is equipped with six-seat tables (which enhance teamwork) supported by a monitor where students can instantly share the contents under discussion. The walls of this room will be made up of boards that allow the sharing of ideas between the different work groups formed during the class. The room is available to be used by all UMinho students by appointment. Some dozens of UMinho’s teachers have already received training so that they can make full use of this new space.

The room, which UMinho baptized as “André Cruz de Carvalho Room”, was funded by the parents of the alumnus of the School of Engineering of UMinho who passed away in the last decade and honours, according to his father “the good memories that the son expressed in relation to UMinho” and the desire to leave a mark with his name on the institution.