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Technology Enhanced Learning Spaces

What is a Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Space?

A Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) space is a room environment that provides students and teachers with access to technologies which enable them to share digital content, discuss ideas and reflect on concepts during allocated class times. A TEL space can take place in one or more physical or online classrooms at the same time. Learning and teaching is not limited to physical boundaries.

TEL spaces:

  • can take place in one or more classrooms at the same time;
  • are not limited to physical classroom boundaries;
  • support innovative learning and teaching;
  • are designed to help staff and students achieve learning outcomes;
  • enhance pedagogical learning and direction; and
  • are designed to cater for new digital learning technologies.

Technology Enhanced Learning Spaces Testimonial Video


TEL spaces include physical and non-physical learning and teaching environments.

A physical TEL space:

  • Is modern in appearance;
  • has state-of-the-art equipment;
  • uses up-to-the-minute software;
  • can be in a small or large room;
  • has acoustic window and floor treatments;
  • may include ergonomic chairs and desks on wheels;
  • uses a mix of face-to-face and online communication platforms; and
  • enhances collaborative learning and teaching practices.

A non-physical TEL space:

  • is online learning and teaching;
  • uses state-of-the-art equipment;
  • uses up-to-the-minute software;
  • involves sharing content digitally;
  • may require online face-to-face discussion;
  • uses multiple digital platforms to share information; and
  • enhances collaborative learning and teaching methods, if used well.

ECU uses a mix of physical and non-physical learning and teaching spaces.

A standard learning place is different to a technological learning space.

A standard learning space includes the physical rooms; the roles of teachers and learners; learning goals; instructional methods and materials; and learners’ tasks (de kock et al., 2004, cited in Change et al, 2015). A teacher’s position is generally at the front of the room and may be separated from students by physical barriers such as lecterns and desks.

A technology enhanced learning space is designed to ensure uninterrupted movement in a classroom. Room computers may be near display screens or on small tables o the side of a room.  TEL spaces promote equal and shared value on collaborative learning and teaching methods. In a TEL spaces teachers and students move around and share conversations and digital content in real time.  For example, students can work in small groups where they have access to technology, such as Solstice, that enables them to actively display what is on their own laptop or smartphone screens to one or more classroom monitors.

TEL spaces are designed to increase digital and face-to-face collaboration and interactions between teachers and students.

TEL spaces at ECU are unique. Firstly, TEL spaces are designed with pedagogy at the core. State-of-the-art technology and modern room aesthetics help students and staff together achieve course and unit learning outcomes.

Another unique feature of ECU’s technology enhanced learning spaces is the capacity to manually or automatically connect two or more ECU technology rooms at the same time.

A manually-operated presentation across two or more physical classrooms at the same time is called a video conference and an automatic presentation that takes place in two or more physical ECU classrooms at the same time is called a spanned presentation.

The main difference between a video conference and a spanned presentation is a video conference can be initiated by a presenter at any time during a class yet a spanned session requires ECU’s timetabling to have pre-booked two or more ECU classrooms in advance to ensure they automatically turn on and connect with each other at the same time and remain linked for the entire duration of a scheduled class time.

The advantage of a spanned classroom is only one teacher needs to go into a physical ECU classroom where he or she delivers a presentation to students in that room and in remote physical ECU rooms at the same time.

Students listening and watching in remote classrooms can switch their classroom from remote room mode to host room mode by simply going to the touchscreen and selecting a different display or control. The original host room then defaults to remote room status. This collaborative feature of the spanned classroom promotes easy and active two-way sharing of content and ideas without the restriction of physical classroom barriers. It ensures equality between classroom audiences and presenters.

A spanned classroom is the simultaneous delivery of a teaching and learning lesson that takes place across two or more physical classrooms. Spanned classrooms are fitted out with presenter and audience microphones; room tracking cameras; and computer monitors.

How does a spanned classroom work?

A spanned classroom is an automated video conferencing environment. Two or more rooms are automatically turned on and connected at the same time with each sending and receiving sound and camera content. Computer display content is only sent from the host room to remote classrooms.

A host room is activated once a person, normally a teacher, turns on the room computer, connects a laptop, or selects a source option on the audio-visual display unit. The other linked rooms then default to remote classroom mode.

A remote classroom can switch into host room mode when someone in the remote classroom walks up to the audio-visual display unit and selects a different source or connects a device, such as a room computer or laptop.

What are the benefits of a spanned classroom?

There are benefits associated with spanned classrooms.

The main benefit is it provides teachers with the opportunity to deliver one class to two or more other physical ECU classrooms at the same time while remaining present in one ECU classroom.

Teachers have the option of choosing to have room cameras and microphones focussed on themselves as they teach and this is called ‘presenter mode’ or on all audiences in all rooms and this is called ‘collaboration mode’ which ensures all students, including those located in remote classrooms, can be seen and heard.

The spanned classroom environment adheres to ECU’s commitment which is to integrate new technologies that enhance and support the teaching and learning experience.

How can I engage with remote audiences?

Teaching staff presenting spanned sessions use a range of practices to better engage with students in remote locations.  If you have used software applications such as Blackboard Collaborate, Skype, Zoom or Facetime then teaching in a spanned classroom should be similar.  Here are some tips:

STEP ONE: Become Familiar with Rooms

In each room look for:

  • tracking cameras
  • ceiling microphones
  • lapel microphones
  • ceiling and wall speakers
  • one or more presenter desks
  • sensor lighting in most rooms
  • rooms with flat floors
  • rooms with steps, such as in tiered lecture theatres
  • rooms where all furniture has wheels, ideal for group work; and
  • an interactive touch screens (GUI) that enables room technology to be controlled.

STEP TWO: Become Familiar with the Technology

Go to CLT’s intranet site and watch and read the short videos and self-help tip sheets that explain how room technology works.

STEP THREE: Deliver a Spanned Classroom Session

Here are some delivery suggestions:

  • ensure the room is set to ‘collaborative mode’ and tracking cameras are turned on;
  • place the lapel microphone which can be located on the presenter desk in your collar on in your hand;
  • start a class once you’re standing in the middle of a room;
  • find the camera that is focussing on you and look into it; this conveys to remote audiences that you are looking directly at them;
  • switch your glance between remote and host room students;
  • slowly move around the room so cameras continue to track and focus on you;
  • if tracking cameras don’t follow you, speak more loudly as they are sound-activated;
  • speak with students in remote classrooms by asking them specific questions that require answers; if it’s a small class then remember each person’s name and use their names when you speak with them;
  • ask students in remote and host classes to ask and answer each other questions;
  • use story telling when explaining theory and ensure the ‘stories’ relate to your audience;
  • ensure remote and host students contribute to the storytelling experience;
  • ask students to share their areas of interest and relate theory to be delivered to these example areas;
  • embed stories about students’ lives and experiences when delivering presentations; in this way students pay more attention because much of the theoretical examples are about them;
  • ask students to work in groups and to report back to you;
  • ask students in rooms with pods to share content from their pod monitors to main screens;
  • ask remote classroom students to work in groups and to go to the user interface touchscreen and switch their room into ‘host room’ status which means they will ‘take over’ the session and your room will default to ‘remote room’ settings;
  • remind all students that ceiling microphones transmit all conversations;
  • use available room technology that is instant across all connected classrooms as such as possible; this includes Solstice software; interactive whiteboards, and document cameras; and
  • use enterprise software to increase collaboration and engagement across classrooms.

Ultimately, you are the learning coordinator across these multiple platforms.

ECU have nine fully equipped technology enhanced learning spaces with full technological support and spanning capacity.

Bunbury campus

Joondalup campus

Mount Lawley campus

You can easily book any of the nine TEL teaching spaces for use.

  • For scheduling your lecturing and other academic class activities, contact ECU Timetabling as you would for any other classroom (see booking tipsheet below).
  • To book after the timetable has been published you must schedule via the Service Now request at this link. (Please note you will have to log in and use the search box and type "spanned").
  • If you require support with a Video Conference, you can learn more here. (you will have to log in with your staff details).

Booking tipsheet

To register for upcoming Technology workshops, visit the Staff Development Calendar.

If you are in a class now and require emergency assistance, pick up the black handset next to the room computer and follow the prompts. Using this handset will place your emergency call at the front of the IT queue.


ECU's TEL spaces 360º videos


Who can I contact for more information and training?

Email:  eLearningTraining@ecu.edu.au

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