Christie Brio Collaborative Technology Transforms Saint Xavier University Classrooms into Learning Studios

Content sharing platform enhances learning for both students and teachers

Looking to innovate in the classroom, the Chicago campus of Saint Xavier University selected the Christie Brio content sharing platform to enhance its classrooms and transform the way students learn.

Concerned that its classroom setups were not meeting the needs of students and faculty, the university researched collaborative technology that would enable students to connect their mobile devices to the display technology present in the classrooms.

Saint Xavier turned to David Injeski from Pentegra Systems to help determine which technology would best suit the University's needs. "I quickly saw that Brio would be an excellent fit based on their objectives," says Injeski, "So I arranged an onsite demonstration of Christie Brio, and it showed itself to be the solution they were seeking."

"We started off looking at other products and all of them had their limitations of whether they could connect with Mac, iOS, Android or PC. Brio was the product that had the most breadth in its ability to connect these and other devices wirelessly to monitors that are in our rooms," says Dr. Chris Zakrzewski, Assistant Provost for Technology and Instructional Innovation, Saint Xavier University.

In an effort to reimagine the traditional classroom, Saint Xavier created three "learning studios" at its Chicago campus. Complete with café-inspired furniture, these studios encourage collaboration via three Brios installed in each of the smaller studios, and four installed in the large studio. Each Christie Brio is connected to either a 65-inch or a 75-inch flat panel display. Injeski worked closely with Saint Xavier to integrate the technology into each room, and designed a touch screen GUI that was installed in each lectern so that instructors can easily arrange and share content with the group on the monitors.

"The students have responded very positively to the learning studios. They have told us that the rooms paint a picture that the institution is engaged in creating the best learning environment for them that we can," says Zakrzewski. "They feel more comfortable in the learning space, and we know the more comfortable a student feels in their space the more engaged they'll be. So we're getting lots of positive feedback from our students with the Brio product in the learning studios."

Teachers have responded equally positively, saying they prefer to teach in the learning studios rather than traditional classrooms and that the flexibility of the space can accommodate a flipped classroom.

The learning studios in Chicago were pilots for a larger project at Saint Xavier's new campus in Gilbert, Arizona, which opened in fall 2015. Saint Xavier installed 70 Christie Brios throughout the Gilbert Campus, in both learning studios and the new "learning commons" for collaborative group work. Concludes Zakrzewski, "It's really the backbone of our AV teaching philosophy, to allow anyone - any student, any faculty - to connect wirelessly. You can't create a 21st century learning environment and have everybody plugging into walls."

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