Lone Star College-Tomball educators continue to lead the way with innovating ideas meant to provide cutting edge education to local students. It was announced this month that three staff members, Assistant Dean Dr. Jackie Thomas, Education professor Latoya Hardman Lewis, and Developmental English instructor Caroline Jamroz, were awarded a Certificate of Honor from the League for Innovation in Community Colleges for their submission, The 21st Century Classroom for the 21st Century Student.
The 21st century classroom is a student-centric space designed to familiarize students with the environments they will encounter as modern-day workers. Computing devices are actively used, eliminating the need for pencil and paper. Students are engaged and, often, teachers serve more as facilitators of classroom discussion than lecturers. Active and adaptive learning are stressed and mutual respect for all parties present in the room is outlined as integral to the success of the learning space.
According to the winning proposal, the 21st century classroom prepares students for credit-based classes and a workforce that increasingly asks for more technologically adept students and more collaborative thinkers. The classroom design allows for seamless collaboration, and the built-in technology gives students access to the tools needed to be successful in today’s time. Currently, Tomball has one 21st century classrooms in use by Developmental English, Student Success, and Education classes and is currently in the process of constructing another.
“Students are not only able to learn academic skills, but they are also learning how to use technology,” Dr. Thomas said. “Students have become more confident with the technology for both school and work.” He also notes, “We’ve noticed an increase in retention for students who are taking classes in the 21st Century classroom.
The League initiated the Innovation of the Year award over thirty years ago to recognize local community college projects and initiatives that reflect extraordinary achievement and the spirit of innovation and experimentation on which the League was founded. The competition provides an opportunity for member colleges to showcase their innovative programs, practices, policies, partnerships, and resources; to celebrate the dedicated educators who are responsible for such exceptional work; and to promote a culture of innovation at their institutions.
Selection for the award is based on established criteria of quality, efficiency, cost effectiveness, replication, creativity, and timeliness. Award winners are determined through a nomination and selection process at individual member colleges. The League presents Innovation of the Year Award certificates to each participating college’s winning innovation team, who are offered opportunities to present at League conferences and to share their stories through League publications.