Learner power

Students' minds are occupied by many challenges, such as how they are going to be able to afford their tuition fees or how they will achieve the highest grades. The first concern is beyond the influence and reach of most students, whilst the second is usually down to good, hard work. Perhaps a little farther down their agendas students are concerned about finding good learning spaces, concerns over the environment, and keeping themselves fit and healthy. Wouldn't it be great if all of these concerns could be met at the same time? Well, they have been, at one Belgian university, but more of that in a moment.

I visited the University of Hasselt this week and was shown around some of its learning spaces. 70 kilometres east of Brussels, Hasselt is a small university, but it has some big ideas. Universiteit Hasselt takes some innovative approaches to education including its refurbishment of an old prison to create a bright and airy new learning space for its law faculty students. The old cells are now 'study cells', where students can find space to focus on their projects.

But back to the question about student concerns. One particular innovation really grabbed my attention. In one of the common areas, I saw this study plinth and simply had to capture this image to share it.  It's such a simple, yet elegantly useful idea. Students sit at the plinth, plug in their laptops or tablets, and then generate electrical power by turning the pedals underneath. While they are generating the power, they are simultaneously improving their fitness levels. Pedal power - saving the university money and providing students opportunities to keep fit while they are learning. Like it? Do you have any other useful ideas that could transform the learning spaces at your institute?

Photo by Steve Wheeler

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Learner power by Steve Wheeler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


Naomi Hancock said…
great idea. I've been taking my phone into the gym to read blog's and articals which is fine if its not too heavy a reading while on the exercise bike but not so easy on the cross trainer. might fall off
Steve Wheeler said…
Try not to fall off Naomi - it's not good for you. It's unlikely that anyone will take a tumble from the Hasselt cycle laptop station above - its seems very well designed, and I wonder when we will see similar devices appearing in other universities around the world. Let me know if you spot one :)
Tim Brook said…
I want one - stop me slumping over my desk!
Rob said…
I'd start by spelling pedal properly.
Steve Wheeler said…
Ooh, a pedant eh? ;)

Thanks for the correction Rob, but I wonder if you have any comments about the 'pedal' power plinth itself...?
University of Hasselt has created an innovative designed environment for students. This arrangement also keeps the students fit and active. This increases the listening ability of students too. Apart from the learning space a qualified and knowledgeable faculties must be appointed to coach students.Read More

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