The most ingenious technologies are often the simplest. The wheel, for example, was likely invented in 3500 BC in Mesopotamia at the hands of an early potter. It later spread across the globe to revolutionize human transportation, agriculture and commerce. Several millennia later, the most important technology at the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning would still be recognizable by the Neolithic Sumerian who invented it, where a single learning studio boasts over 335 wheels located on tables, chairs, screens, whiteboards and teaching stations.
This was the call to action for Faye Halpern, who teaches 19th-century American literature in the Department of English. “Almost every classroom that I’ve ever been offered has seating in rows and it’s very hard to get a good discussion going if the students can’t see each other,” says Halpern. “I was excited for the Taylor Institute, even just having the low-tech possibility of being able to have students sit in a horseshoe and see each other. You’re not locked into a given structure.”