[Category: In Class]
How to Deliver Demonstrated Learning Benefits with Next Generation Classroom Design: Part 3/3
The Evidence-Based Classroom
Educators everywhere are embracing the need to adapt the classroom based on the forces, philosophies and research outlined above. The specific form these spaces take differ due to curriculum, class size, space, budget constraints and the like, however, two commonalities are consistently seen: the flexibility to deliver adaptable, active learning spaces and the integration of technology that fosters collaboration and sharing.
In a case study published by Edutopia.com, the website of the George Lucas Educational Foundation, the author notes that “Flexible classrooms give students a choice in what kind of learning space works best for them, and helps them to work collaboratively, communicate, and engage in critical thinking.”
Tips for creating future-ready classrooms on a budget abound in the blogosphere and manufacturers of education furnishings have taken note of the trends and offer a wide variety of streamlined modular furnishings for easy and efficient flexible arrangement.
“Flexible classrooms give students a choice in what kind of learning space works best for them, and helps them to work collaboratively, communicate, and engage in critical thinking.”
Among the recommendations for functional flexibility are:
• Selective seating – Offer a variety of seating options to enable student choice and facilitate different working styles/activities/projects. This can include couches, floor pillows, bean bag chairs, and traditional chair/ desk combos as well as DIY seating
• Mobility – Bookshelves and other wheeled furnishings can be rearranged to open up the room or create cozy collaborative nooks
• Collaborative configurations – Replace individual workspaces with large round or rectangular tables, or put desks together to form a more collaborative space
• Huddle spaces – Common in corporate settings, these spaces offer convenient seating plus technology (audio, display, sharing software) for small group collaboration and content sharing. Furniture marketers and educators may refer to them using an array of terms that include: teaming tables, media tables, lounges, hublets, coves, team gardens, learning suites, informal learning environments or learn labs.
The most successful active learning spaces include well-matched educational technology resources. From student devices to an interactive front-of-room display and the ability for students to digitally share their work, technology matters more than ever in today’s classroom.
Among the most common ways in which technology is being leveraged toward constructivist learning are:
• Front of room interactivity – Today’s educators seek a front-of-room display that empowers students and instructors to actively interact with content. ViewSonic offers a range of options to fit any budget that includes interactive flat panels, interactive projectors and retrofit interactive kits.
• Interactive software – Existing flat panel displays can often be updated with interactive software, such as ViewSonic® ViewBoard® for Education, which in addition to delivering robust interactive features that bring lessons to life, also supports direct file saving to Google Drive and encourage active engagement.
• Content sharing – Wireless content sharing eliminates cord clutter and makes it easy and efficient for students to display content from their personal or school-issued devices. ViewSonic options include the ViewSync® 3 wireless interactive presentation gateway, the ViewStick 2 wireless HDMI adapter and AutoProject app, and Solstice enterpriseclass collaboration software.
• Huddle spaces/learning labs – Call them what you will, these techladen spaces foster exactly the type of active, constructivist learning 21st century educators seek. Convenient and conducive to conversation among a small group of students, huddle spaces typically feature an interactive display or smart display and may also include content sharing capabilities such as those mentioned above for easy wireless visual data sharing from smartphones, tablets and laptops.
• Smart desktops – Displays equipped with an integrated Android OS or thin/zero clients offer cost-effective, all-in-one solutions that conserve space and deliver easy-to-use functionality. ViewSonic offers a range of models that let users create high-impact dual display configurations or fold flat for tablet-like performance.
Case in Point: Providing the Learning Environment That Kids Need
Since implementing flexible classrooms, Albemarle County Public Schools have found that:
• Students grades have improved.
• Students seem happier and more engaged.
• Students are participating more and having more invigorating conversations.
“We’re really looking at how we support kids working collaboratively. And we can’t do it if they’re isolated in rows and every kid is an island.” — Becky Fisher, the director of educational technology at Albemarle County Public Schools.
Significant research and educator experience alike confirm that the traditionally designed classroom – and the transference model it represents – lacks what is needed to prepare engaged 21st-century citizens. Instructors and administrators are working to apply this knowledge to new classroom design practices, leveraging flexible furnishings and collaborative technology to create spaces that promote active engagement and meaningful learning. ViewSonic offers a wide range of technologies that bring greater interactivity and collaboration to any classroom’s front of room display, huddle stations, desktops, learning labs, and more.