That was fort....
...that was a long time ago and although the world has changed immensely, I still see plenty of classrooms that are structured just as they were in the days when my friends and I were playing school.
|That '70s Class|
|Seriously? What has really changed?|
Think about some of the big ideas in education today; differentiation, personalization, collaboration, design thinking, project-based learning, tech-enabled classrooms to name a few. When I think of these concepts I picture very fluid space with areas that meet a variety of instructional needs and learning styles. I envision a space that is functional, reflects student choices and authentic work. Today's classrooms should focus on learning rather than teaching and that requires us to rethink learning spaces.
At the Texas Computer Educators Association conference in Austin my favorite learning space is the Digital Square. This space is filled with a variety of seating choices and there is no front of the room. I enjoy finding a space that fits my comfort needs and learning style and I love this concept for our classrooms.
Steelcase is a company that has done an exceptional job of researching learning spaces and is one of several companies that are promoting the idea that furnishings in a classroom should be flexible enough to accommodate various learning styles and instructional models. With the help of Paul Rademacher at Rockford Business Interiors in Austin, we are piloting a few pieces from Steelcase's furniture line that help create flexible learning spaces. The Node desk has wheels, which allows quick reconfiguration of the space to fit various instructional models. We have put these desks into a second grade classroom as well as a Middle School math classroom. During the time we have this furniture, I will be making classroom observations, visiting with students and teachers to get feedback and having other teachers and administrators observe and discuss.
|An example of a classroom with flexible learning spaces.|
This space says "collaboration happens here!"
Now where's my Big Chief tablet? I need to go make some observations!