A growing body of research has found teachers’ positioning in the classroom and proximity to students can strongly influence critical aspects of student engagement, motivation, disruptive behaviour, and self-efficacy.
However, the literature on this does not clearly identify the optimum position educators should place themselves during a class or how classrooms should be designed to ensure maximum student engagement.
To address this, Monash University researchers recently analysed positioning patterns of teachers within a number of learning environments to determine the best teaching positions for educators.
This led the researchers – in collaboration with international partners from Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (Ecuador), Carnegie Mellon University (USA), University of Technology Sydney, and Norwegian University of Science and Technology – to develop an advanced AI system called Moodoo.
The data captured by Moodoo highlights certain factors that are essential to delivering successful learning outcomes – for instance, providing increased teacher-student time ratio for hands-on learning as opposed to a one-way lecture delivery method.
Project Lead, Senior Lecturer Dr Roberto Martinez-Maldonado, from the Faculty of Information Technology (IT) at Monash University, said their research analysed data from seven teachers wearing indoor positioning trackers.
The teachers delivered three distinct types of classes to over 190 students in the context of physics education.
“Our results showed that by using Moodoo, wearable trackers revealed the kinds of learning tasks performed by students in the classroom and the appropriate positioning approaches used by teachers,” Dr Martinez-Maldonado said.
“Our results form a foundation that can help us train novice teachers to use the classroom spaces effectively or to assess the impact of the spatial design on teaching and learning outcomes.”
Further studies into classroom spatial use are underway to determine specifically where teachers should stand for effective education delivery and how classrooms should be designed or laid out.