shaping our tools





SUCCESSFUL ELEMENTS TO CLASSROOM DESIGN Author: Mandy Wannen



A successful classroom layout should provide tools to support experiential configurations. Teachers are now becoming facilitators of knowledge through active learning framework. The success of student engagement is determined by convergence of these experiential configurations and the individuals learning modalities. Furniture selections along with interior architecture shall aim to provide fluidity with these three goals in mind:


​Configurations of APPLYING knowledge

​Configurations of COMMUNICATING knowledge

​Configurations of CREATING knowledge





Configurations of APPLYING knowledge

​Furniture shall provide surfaces for project demonstration. These shall easily move into multiple configurations and space should be created by student. Research and products shall be at hand but often in areas where students can perform the discovery. The interior environment shall aim to have natural daylighting, zoned lighting controls, and closed storage of manipulatives.





Configurations of COMMUNICATING knowledge

The final stage in any project is presenting the model and solution to peers and community. This is a critical step in the learning process because of the desire to develop both communication and collaboration skills and the ability to accept and implement constructive feedback. Furniture shall support multiple mediums. These should include dry erase surface for reference reflection, surface power access, and media accessories storage. Interior architecture shall include pin up areas, dry erase and/or magnetic surfaces, media displays and tools. Tools may be used for extended learning via web ex/skype, so architecture shall include the right acoustics and flexibility accordingly.






Configurations of CREATING knowledge

​Creativity always fosters innovation. Students are now creators of content. Furniture shall aim to provide multiple configurations, from whole group to a variety of small group. Often the discovery of the solution is outside of the classroom, an "anytime, anywhere" learning scenario. Access, storage, and charging of technology is key. Interior architecture should provide access to areas such as huddle room for small group or one to one interactions, or cozy areas for autonomous learning.


​Classrooms shall be both personal and intimate but also public and social. Experiences gained help shape these tools, and shape the future outcomes of education.


​"We become what we behold. First we shape our tools, then our tools shape us." - Marshall McLuhan


References:

Integrated STEM Education through Project-Based Learnin​g- Learning.com