Classroom design vital to ed tech innovation, productivity
- While much of the discussion on ed tech revolves around the tools, more attention must be paid to classroom design, Dartmouth assessment and evaluation postdoc Cindy Cogswell and Lead Instructional Designer Mike Goudzwaard write for EdSurge.
- Two years ago, the duo redesigned a computer lab into an active learning classroom to inspire discussions on classroom redesign, and their experiences and interactions with other designers have shown them that basing an active learning class on a BYOD policy can be a particular challenge, as it makes it difficult to keep classroom tech utilization efficient and uniform among all students.
- Classrooms should be soft and quiet, include physical materials to write on whiteboards, and utilize such innovations to further strengthen discussion, communication and evaluation among students and educators — and the two see further advancements along these lines over the past two years leading to more innovations.
With classroom design in K-12 and higher ed increasingly prioritizing collaborative space and opportunities to integrate blended learning tools and approaches, it is notable how classroom designs are more closely approximating today’s workplaces rather than conventional classroom settings. College and K-12 classrooms alike have sought inspiration from Silicon Valley industries, for example. The inspiration ranges from the technical to the aesthetical, with open light and transparent communal working areas. These redesigned classrooms offer more opportunity for entrepreneurial, individualized learning and group discussions, both of which would better introduce a student to the workplace environment than an educator-focused traditional classroom setting.
School leaders can also entice parents and potential students with redesigned classroom settings. For the student, active learning classroom designs offer an intuitive break from the stereotypical representation of school incoming students are saddled with, and parents may be attracted by a school’s tech utilization and assurance that these classroom environments will better position students for bright professional futures. Increased enrollment can also help schools and districts overcome prohibitive costs of classroom redesign. Schools interested in investing in redesigns now can start with one classroom, or even a section of a classroom, as the Fashion Institute of Technology did when it introduced 3-D printing into a design class. A successful pilot class can spur more interest and potential funding for a school to proceed.