Classroom 2.0: A New Way of Learning

Archbishop Moeller High School is changing education forever; recently, Moeller has renovated their fifty-eight year old classrooms to become a new, improved, and interactive areas for learning. Called Classroom 2.0, these new rooms are a more modern version of the normal classroom that will help the Men of Moeller in their future academic and work careers.

Renovations can be seen on the second floor of Moeller High School in the old wing of the building.  All the new technology, paint, and atmosphere make these renovations hard to miss. Over the 2018 summer, every single classroom on the second floor was stripped and completely renovated, including the hallway, which saw its lockers removed.

When Mr. J. Marshall Hyzdu became the new President of Moeller High School, Hyzdu and other administrators evaluated Moeller and came to one conclusion: at fifty eight years old, the building is starting to show its age. Hyzdu’s goal is to make Moeller a cutting edge school and the old classrooms were holding Moeller back. The rooms are the first of many renovations because, “The classrooms impact everyone one of our students and everyone one of our teachers. It’s where our teachers teach and our students learn. And it is absolutely critical that we provide the very best environment for the students to learn because that is part of our mission of forming you guys [the students] into remarkable men.”

President of Moeller, J. Marshall Hyzdu  Photo from Linkedin

President of Moeller, J. Marshall Hyzdu

Photo from Linkedin

Hyzdu and administrators met with the University of Cincinnati DAAP program to design the new rooms. The new classes are designed to encourage students to take part in their learning, to encourage collaboration, and to utilize teamwork besides focusing only a lecture-based form of teaching.

The new technology that can be found inside of the classrooms: chairs with desks attached and wheels on the bottom of them, mounted projectors, air conditioning, whiteboards, surround sound speakers, LED lighting systems, universal technology, an increase in wall outlets, and carpet floors in every room.

The chairs have desks attached and are placed on wheels to encourage more collaboration in the classroom  Photo by Tyler Totin

The chairs have desks attached and are placed on wheels to encourage more collaboration in the classroom

Photo by Tyler Totin

The mounted projectors have been the one of the most liked changes by Mrs. Jennifer Boggess, who likes to call herself a ‘nomadic teacher’. As a teacher that hasn’t yet received her own room, she travels between classes to different rooms in the building. As someone without any classes in the new rooms, she finds it hard to teach with a cart and a projector in the middle of the classroom. The ceiling mounted projector is an upgrade she is looking forward to using in future years. Boggess, who teaches Advanced Placement Psychology, strongly supports the upgrades of the lighting because as she stated, it helps set the mood of the classroom and promote learning from a psychological standpoint.

The newly painted rooms promote learning because it helps set a visual stimulus in the classroom. The air conditioning and the increase in wall outlets are new throughout the entire building and they are the best upgrades according to the students, who are always looking to charge their tablets.

Mrs. Corwell, also a nomadic teacher, but a teacher who gets to use the new classrooms, appreciates the new whiteboards as there is no longer glare coming off of them. She enjoys using the new speaker systems as she uses a lot of videos in her class to promote learning, and she likes being able to control her own room’s temperature. However, her favorite part is that all the technology is the same throughout the new rooms so she only needs to bring her computer and nothing else to help her teach.

The new chairs with wheels encourage more collaboration between students and teachers. All of the classes are now carpeted to help the chairs with wheels move easier.

Derek Williams’ room models the new classroom setup. He takes pride in his classroom plants as they “warm the room” to provide a better learning environment  Photo by Tyler Totin

Derek Williams’ room models the new classroom setup. He takes pride in his classroom plants as they “warm the room” to provide a better learning environment

Photo by Tyler Totin

Derek Williams, a Moeller High School teacher whose room is on the second floor, strongly agrees with administration’s new plan with the class setup. He states, “The rooms are quieter, equipment is user friendly and students tend to learn better in a more organized and clean environment.”

There is one other major difference in the building this year as all of the lockers on the second floor have been removed and the hallway has been painted. This has opened up mountains of space in the hallway, but there are talks of future plans as to what may be put in this hallway. Mr. Matthew Jackson informed the Moeller Crusader that there excited debates about what put in the empty space left by the lockers. Seating areas, tables, trophy cases, artwork, Moeller logos, or bulletin boards are all options for these areas.

When Mr. David Beiersdorfer, Moeller’s Director of Facilities, was asked about the timeline on this project, not only did he inform The Moeller Crusader of the future changes on the third floor, but he also talked about renovation plans that not many people know are taking place. In the summer of 2019 the third floor will be in the format of Classroom 2.0. The lockers will also be removed and the ceiling has already undergone renovation, and there is currently air conditioning on this floor. Also, all three restrooms in the main wing, which are stacked upon each other, will be gutted and completely renovated. This will also include the female restroom on the first floor in the main hallway.

This entire project has the price tag of three million dollars and a timeline consisting of the three summer’s worth of work. However, student tuition has not gone up as a result. One hundred percent of the money raised was from fundraising donations. Hyzdu assured the Moeller Crusader that Moeller did not take on any debts, raise tuition in any form, transfer money away from operations, or impact any other program at Moeller High School. Hyzdu stated, “We have fully funded this from the generosity of the Moeller family.” One donor, who decided to stay anonymous, donated one third of the money needed for these renovations which helped get the project off the ground.

These new classrooms will also help time in mentor group because as Mr. Shaffer told The Moeller Crusader, “You can easily rearrange the classroom to fit whatever you need that day, discussion or game. For example, moving a desk to set up a ping pong table for a fun game in mentor group.” Although the carpet will prohibit mentor groups from making food inside their rooms, pre-made food will still be allowed to be brought into the new rooms. Mrs. Corwell stated that in her mentor group the new classroom setup has helped the students and they are able to more around easier, which as a result, has promoted more interaction between students in different grade levels.

Senior Will Riesenberg gives the new chairs a thumbs up!  Photo by Tyler Totin

Senior Will Riesenberg gives the new chairs a thumbs up!

Photo by Tyler Totin

When asked about the new classrooms, Mrs. Boggess was in full support of the renovations and said, “I think if we are going to stay current in teaching at a collegiate level and learn how to function in real world situations, the new classrooms are hugely beneficial. They will encourage fast moving conversations and activities that many of our classes utilize to prepare our students for life outside Moeller.”  

Then, when Dr. Christine Brookbank, Moeller’s new Dean of Academics, was asked if she would have liked teaching in one of these new classrooms excitement flew across the room as she said, “Yes – hopefully one day! By teaching in these new rooms, administration not only “talks the talk” of creating twenty first century learning environments for our students but they also model and implement these practices as teacher leaders.”

From a student’s prospective, many students of all grades have agreed that the new technology helps them understand what is happening in their classes. The students are enjoying the speaker systems, as said by senior Will Riesenberg, “We [the students] can actually hear videos a lot better that our teachers shows us in class.” The students also are enjoying the new chairs, as they give the students more freedom in their learning. When asked about his opinion on the new rooms, senior Jordan Ward stated, “These new classrooms have created a warmer learning environment at Moeller, but not warmer temperature wise, we have air conditioning now.”

Tyler Totin