Revitalizing the classroom is more than just including technology in the learning space.
It is putting emphasis on designing the classroom space in a way that supports the student learning experience. The redesign of the space takes care of the changes in the expectations of the student learning experience and this is why, one finds the innovative learning space design is just not about aesthetics. The learner-centered focus while redesigning learning space assists in facilitating powerful pedagogy.
The best part about the idea of redesigning learning space is that it isn’t an idea that demands huge investment figures or time taking in nature, if planned well in advance. All that’s required to make the idea work, is taking the time to declutter and thinking creatively to provide the much needed fresh look, flexibility and required tools to complete a learning space redesign.
The tips mentioned below can be used for undertaking smaller scale remake in the right way. In the initial stage, one can start with the preparation work incrementally over a few weeks and then lead up to a larger remake work consequently.
1. Engage Students in the Process
When the entire purpose behind redesigning the learning space is to accommodate the expectations of the student learning experience, taking care of students suggestion is more than just a wise step. It is the necessary element to consider at first. Teachers as well as the school authorities will be amazed to know that students indeed are insightful and can in fact suggest some fantastic ideas to redesign the learning space which supports their learning experience.
2. Focus More on Student Experience not Acquisition of Furniture
Before heading right away, authorities need to question themselves what are some of the desired student experiences and learning outcomes or how can they measure success? These are not only important questions but one whose answers guide teachers to plan out future course of action. Say, by measuring how the redesign impacts the learning outcomes, it can help school authorities make a business case and also give them a direction to why the school should continue investing in future redesign projects.
With new ideas what comes as complementary is an idea for professional development/learning for educators working in the new spaces.
3. Avoid In-Box Thinking & Give Room to Creative Thinking
As per psychology, no individual likes to feel left out and therefore the group dynamic and longing to fit in is reason enough to discourage critical thinking and persuade the rationale person to support the majority view.
In the case of institutions, group thinking occurs when a team or organization becomes so similar in their outlook that they lose the ability to be creative in their decision making.
While redesigning spaces, the critical question one should ask in the planning process is- will the idea cater to the needs of the classroom of a particular school? Because, the idea here is not to copy the design of another school’s learning space. Say, a certain X plan may be a perfect design for school A but might turn out to be the contrary thing in the case of school B.
4. Remove the Conventional Look of Classroom
One of the prime objectives of redesigning classroom is to provide experiences and learning opportunities that weren’t previously possible.
In conventional classrooms, the front of the classroom is used for direct instruction, having large interactive display or projector. On the other hand, one finds the progressive and innovative schools increasingly opt for multiple non-touch flat screen TVs that are placed across the classroom. This redesigning model is opted mainly to implement the station rotation model of blended learning and to greatly increase the collaborative nature of the space, making it conducive to problem or project based learning.
5. Get to the Depth of Space Vocabulary
With changing time, the definition of learning space has diversified and become more inclusive. In order to redesign the learning space, going deep in the space vocabulary is essential. Terms such like flexible, agile, intentional, adaptive, technological and interconnected occur frequently when redesigning space. So authorities in charge must question themselves are all these vocabularies clear to them?
Students learn best in environments that permit movement, giving accessibility to learning tools and promoting student thinking and creativity. Even with limited material and equipment, a teacher can create a classroom environment that meets the purpose of instruction while cultivating a community of engaged learners. Great teachers design classroom fostering collaboration to establish a sense of belonging in students. Students gain knowledge readily when the school room transmits warmth, beauty and promotes harmony.
Before you wrap up the discussion on this topic do watch the video below to get an inspiration regarding how to remake the classroom space for a collaborative student learning experience.