|I took this pic during a directed study.|
|Students in small groups with devices.|
|Example of my daily class agenda.|
Teaching and Learning GoalsI have a teaching and learning vision, but I'm not a designer. I would definitely need help to get started. Some of my priorities are:
- students should be comfortable
- students should be able to work collaboratively
- students should be able to share their thinking and work with a larger audience without having to crowd around one iPad/laptop screen
- students and teacher should be able to maneuver around the room relatively easily without tripping on materials
- technology storage should provide for security and the ability to charge battery power
|Seeing students at some of the stations working together on various devices and sharing their ideas on the screens gets me even more excited!|
|I like that the chairs, tables, and screens are on wheels in this model. This means collaborative station locations, and the number of students in each group, could be more easily changed according to student learning needs.|
Slot Sofa by Matthew Pauk
The Slot Sofa was not designed specifically for classroom, but I can surely see the possibilities. Pauk, the Boston designer, describes this dynamic furniture saying:
When slotted, the table acts as a console. When freed, it acts as a coffee table. The magnetically retained sofa cushions always find and keep their optimal position either atop the table for an ottoman or below for a coffee table.
|What if the furniture was more convertible? The Slot Sofa can take many forms. It fits my comfort guidelines, but also could be rearranged according to what students decide they need.|
Student InputNo matter what my ideal classroom would be, it won't do any good for kids unless they have input. I really like this article, with videos, about how a design team helped solve a middle school math teacher's space problems. The first video explains how the designers took both teacher AND student needs into account.
The second video has more about the physical rebuilding process and how the teacher was an important part of that. The final result is great and creates more space and more areas where learning can happen. I also like that much of the furniture was repurposed. Perhaps something I could look into doing to save money on a big project like this.
Help from DesignersAs I mentioned earlier in the post, I'm a teacher. I'm not a designer. I would definitely need help from professionals to make the best use of my space so that my students' learning and collaboration needs were met. The Third Teacher + is the group profiled in the 3 part video series above. Another group I've looked at that seems promising is Learning Space Toolkit. Others I'd love to consult would be Malcolm Brown of Dartmouth College and Philip Long of MIT. They've studied trends in classroom design and why some designs are better for learning than others.
I know I'm dreaming big and much of this would require a big budget, but a vision has to start somewhere. I'll keep trying to get creative in my classroom and I'll keep you posted!