Friday, August 29, 2014

Classroom Design: Change the Learning Environment

I have been wondering lately what should a classroom today look like?  Should we still have desks and tables in rows with the teacher in the front of the room?  

At ISTE this year I spent some time in the exhibit hall talking to furniture companies looking at different types of tables, desks, chairs, and more.  I am trying to reimagine the classroom in a technology rich environment.  What would that actually look like?  What could a blended/flipped classroom look like?  Do we still have desks and chairs in rows?

I have many ideas floating through my head of what a blended classroom looks like.  The only problem that I see of fulfilling some of my visions is money.  That is the really big issue with every district.  My vision is to have a classroom that has a variety of learning environments in one classroom.  A classroom that is not set up a traditional way.  A classroom that is arranged for student learning!  This type of classroom may look different to you than it does to me.  However, it will accomplish the same goals.  The classroom can be arranged differently from day-to-day, unit-to-unit, quarter-to-quarter or minute-to-minute.  The possibilities are as endless as your imagination.  

Why should we keep our learning environments the same as they were 100 years ago.  Learning is done in different ways now, why should we not encourage that type learning?  This not only goes for students, but for us as adult learners as well!  I want to have the ability to make the learning environment the best for the learner.  Why don’t we do that in our classrooms? Why do we have to have desks in neat rows?  Why not beanbags, couches, tall tables, moveable tables that are white boards, movable partitions, and more.  

What would you do to redesign your classroom if money was not limited?

1 comment:

  1. Great topic Otis and one I've been passionate about also. When I researched to put the DC Center together I designed it largely based on the article Campfires in Cyberspace by David Thornburg . The center has a campfire area (flexible group learning and global sharing), watering holes (smaller spaces for collaboration), and caves (a place for individual deep thinking, creating and processing). I also enlisted some of Apple's design with mobile flip top tables to easily change spaces. And the learning style geek in me researched room color. The Campfire area is blue for openness to learning and calmness while the watering hole area is green to foster collaboration.
    I put it together on the cheap, so if I had unlimited budget I'd add a few more mobile elements and get new carpet! The dingy orange carpet messes with my Chi :)