Dec. 23, 2005
A nationally known speaker who has gained recognition for promoting active learning and creating excitement in the classroom will lead an educational workshop at the Lancaster Campus of HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College, on Saturday, February 4. Scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the workshop will be held in East 203 on the campus at 1642 Old Philadelphia Pike.

Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom, led by Dr. Charles Bonwell, of Active Learning Workshops, Green Mountain Fall, CO, will have broad appeal for secondary and post-secondary teachers, according to Pam Watkins, associate professor of mathematics at the Lancaster Campus. Bonwell's presentation will address active learning in both the traditional and virtual classrooms.

"So often students are passive learners in the classroom. They are lectured to or they have demonstrations shown to them," said Watkins. "Research has shown that when students are more active in the learning process that they learn better and retain knowledge longer-which is the goal of any educator. When we instill in them that learning is an active process, not a passive process, we empower them to learn anything."

Bonwell has facilitated more than 200 workshops nationally and internationally for faculty and teaching assistants on active learning and critical thinking, and has given the keynote address at numerous regional, national, and international conferences. In 1986 Bonwell was one of 50 faculty honored nationwide by the American Association of Higher Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for his "outstanding educational leadership." He is co-author, with James Eison, of the best-selling ASHE-ERIC monograph Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom (1991). In 1996, Jossey-Bass published Using Active Learning in College Classrooms: A Range of Options for Faculty, co-authored with Tracey Sutherland.

The workshop is the inaugural event for the college's new Center for Innovative Teaching Excellence (CITE), which opened in October. HACC Lancaster developed the CITE as a tool to promote excellence in instruction, whether it's Internet-based or face to face.

"Being on the Internet can be a passive thing in and of itself," said Watkins. "When students take an Internet course, we as teachers using that technology need to find a way to make that a more active process."

The CITE is about the size of a regular classroom, but it has three distinct parts. Within the CITE is a lab that offers Sympodium software and Smart classroom capability where faculty will focus on learning various technology they can incorporate into the classroom. It also includes a separate area for roundtable discussions and small workshops that are directed toward energizing and improving classroom instruction.

"Smart classroom capabilities allow the teacher to bring the technology right into the classroom," explained Watkins. "Instead of just talking about a website where you can go and broaden your horizons, I can bring the website right into the classroom to create excitement for it.

"Some Smart classrooms include computers that students can be working on at the same time. The teacher then gives them some directed activities that will allow them to learn the material and discover the material. There is great excitement in discovery."

Directly adjacent to the CITE is the Tegrity studio. Tegrity is the leading technology for easily producing dynamic multimedia online content for on-demand or live delivery.

"It is an integrated system that allows the professor to create a streaming video that puts the professor out on the web," said Watkins. "If I know I'm going to attend a workshop and don't want to interrupt my students' learning, I can create a lesson and put it out there for them to use in my absence."

The cost to attend the workshop is $25 and includes lunch. Space is very limited, however, so interested teachers are asked to make a reservation as soon as possible. Secondary teachers will receive Act 48 credit for the workshop. For more information, email Judy Sherwood at, or telephone (717) 358-2940.

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