First Week in TILE

First Week in TILE


Students who enter a TILE classroom for the first time are often surprised—maybe even concerned. Actively engaging them on the first day with teamwork and inquiry, as well as with the classroom technology can go far to helping them meet your expectations for their learning.

Explore with student the benefits of a TILE classroom. Instructors and students have found it useful to spend time talking about the space and how it will be used. Consider a simple exercise like asking students what they notice about the space and how this compares to other classrooms. 

Long-term relevancy and importance to students’ lives. In addition to building critical thinking skills in TILE and learning the content of a course, students will practice many soft skills in TILE. As a result, a student in TILE may:

  • Build self-esteem and confidence through discussion activities and presentation projects. 
  • Learn the art of cooperation and management required for successful group/team work. 
  • Connect content of the course to real-life and develop deeper personal meaning. 
  • Learn the value of diversity by working with people of different backgrounds and attitudes from them. 
  • Earn a higher grade than students taught in a traditional classroom. (Van Horne, et al. 2012).

Encourage students to test the TILE tools.

“The biggest difference in the TILE room compared to a traditional classroom is that students do stuff,” says Mark Isham, Adjunct Lecturer in the English Department. “So right away we do stuff.” 

Isham helps set student expectations in a TILE classroom by modeling from day one the types of “doing” students will participate in throughout the semester. 

Students are often taught not to touch technical equipment in fear of it breaking. It is critical in the first week to address this mindset and build students’ confidence in using the technology of the space (laptops, whiteboards, tabletop microphones, etc.).  

“This room is something special – so right away they ought to use it,” says Isham. “My students turn the knobs, and pull the levers on the first day of class.” 

If there are other tools you will be using like ICON or Wiki, consider inviting a Student Instructional Technology Assistant (SITA) to your class to help you train your students on how to best use the tool.


Van Horne, S., Murniati, C., & Saichaie, K. (2012). Assessing teaching and learning in technology-infused TILE classrooms at the University of Iowa. In EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative’s Seeking Evidence of Impact. Go to research.