What's the Difference in Smart Classrooms?

My Environmental Sciences and Policy Department at CEU is one of the premiere research and teaching departments in its field in Europe, but CEU’s commitment to the environment is visible not just at the departmental level but as a whole university. As a signatory to the COPERNICUS University Charter for Sustainable Development, CEU has its own Sustainable Development Policy. The new green buildings are examples of this promise in action. The buildings are designed to reduce the university’s ecological footprint and include smarter technology with lower energy consumption.

CEU’s new green buildings have several smart classrooms. These rooms are equipped with the latest technology to make learning a more interactive and fun process. Most of the classrooms that I have used for my lectures have at least two touchscreen smartboards, if not more, and a projector and speakers for HD quality video and audio. The smartboards even have an app so they can be used remotely from phones and tablets. We have used them not only as traditional white/black boards and for slide presentations, but also for live streaming, like during the Climate Reality climate watch event. Climate leaders organized climate watch for CEU and the wider Budapest community discuss their current work on climate change in different part of the world.

As part of my course, we have also had multiple interactive video conferences by guest lecturers from around the world. This has made it possible for us to learn from the experiences of current practitioners in the field. We had a guest lecture by Anupam Anand, who works with the Global Environment Facility of the World Bank Group, for example, which gave us real-life examples of geospatial science used in environmental projects. Many of the invited speakers have been pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to be able to see the class and interact with us in real-time Q&As. It made the lectures more engaging.However, as the saying goes, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” We take this adage seriously at our department. I once walked past a classroom during a break to hear my peers singing karaoke with their professor. We've also played around with the touchscreen smartboards to collaborate on artistic murals. A lot of hidden talent has been discovered thanks to this technology in our classrooms. The smart classrooms introduced this year have certainly added a new dimension to learning at CEU.

 by Shwetha Nair (MESPOM ’18, India)