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  • Writer's pictureJames Kerr

Student Experience And Classroom Design

Updated: Nov 23, 2019

I will be creating a new learning space for my Physics and Physical Science students. My former learning space (see drawing at the side) was constructed 1969. One of the strengths of this former classroom was the large area for the room, engendering student comfort and affording the ability to organize multiple activities simultaneously. Projection on to a screen was difficult in this classroom due to the ambient light streaming through the closed blinds. The lab desks were immobile, limiting the design for classroom activity. The room was equipped with WIFI. The banks of fluorescent lights in the room could be turned on or off individually.

Future ClassroomDesign Created in SketchUp

My new learning space will include many flexible specifications designed to support 21st century instruction. Specifically, the ergonomic furniture design and multiple supports for new technological tools provide the central focus for the redesigned space (1600 square feet, 48 feet x 33.3 feet). The ceiling tiles will be suspended 16 feet above the floor. A teacher built-in desk at the front of the room will be the control center for the instructional teaching technology. A Smartboard will be centrally located on the front wall of the classroom, featuring cables that will connect under the floor to the teacher desk. The multi-speaker amplification system and presentation system for the room will also be linked to the Smartboard via a panel under the teacher desk. The sound system for the room will include lavalier microphones as well as a traditional microphone. The Smartboard will be touch connected for Internet access. Bluetooth technology will link the teacher laptop to the classroom DVD player which is also connected to the classroom Smartboard. A series of six rotatable large screens will be suspended from the ceiling to afford easier viewing and presentation for student lab groups. Students will be able to share LabQuest lab team data via these individual screens, and the individual screens will also be integrated with the classroom presentation system. Two large white dry erase boards will be located on either side of the Smartboard at the front of the class replacing the chalkboards of the former classroom.

The student lab desks will be mobile, affording multiple configurations for instruction.

The area for the new space will approximate the size of the former lab, only slightly deeper and less wide with no room divider. The room design affords ample personal space for each student, easily accommodating 30 students. The classroom chairs will be ergonomically designed to maximize student comfort while seated. A demonstration desk with sink and gas jets will be built-in next to the teacher desk at the front of the room affording equal observation access for all students. The room lighting system will have multiple options, including dimmers. Electricity will be available via cords suspended from retractable reels connected to the ceiling. Pressurized air will be available from hose reels suspended from the ceiling. The rooms heating and cooling system will be controlled by the teacher, allowing a two degree Fahrenheit comfort shift above or below the building setting. The floor will be a uniform, warm blue color. The walls will be white, including room for presenting student work. The room will include an emergency shower, and multiple cabinets wrapping around the walls with varied space capacities. Some cabinet spaces will include drawers on sliding tracks. Multiple large windows on one wall will allow ambient light to flood the room. To facilitate a darkened room, the windows will have interior louvers that can be closed and opened mechanically. In the center of the room on the ceiling, an I beam will be added to to the classroom for use in Physics demonstrations. The classroom will have high ceilings to accentuate the feeling of open space. A prep room will be shared between two classrooms. This lab prep room will include more storage space, two built-in lab desks with sinks, a telephone, dishwasher, and refrigerator.

Local tax payers, in cooperation with state funding will support this re-design. This revision will require multiple levels of cooperation and communication, including the classroom teacher, administrators, school board, and architects. The classroom re-design is part of a larger project that will include a plan for a new high school building. The final constraints for the cost for the re-design will be decided by the Superintendent of Schools in cooperation with the building principal.

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