Environment is everything. When it comes to where you live, where you work, and especially where you learn, having a pleasant ambiance surrounding you is critical to productivity and relaxation.
We recently returned from the InfoComm10 show in Las Vegas. Vegas (and many other tourist spots) are all about environment. The huge hotels and casinos engage in detailed research to learn what impact the environment has on its guests. For example, most casinos feature carpeting with a very bold and confusing pattern. This causes you to look-up (at the gaming tables and slot machines) rather than focus on the floor. Studies about colors and how they make people feel are endless and used in almost every facet of design. Many casinos and resorts use various smells to make guests feel relaxed and comfortable spending time in their establishment.
Casinos and Classrooms
Environment is important everywhere, including the classroom. Although casinos and classrooms have two completely different objectives when considering how the environment will affect visitors, there are still a lot of similarities.
Classroom design and the layout of the space is an important factor in learning. The designs vary from traditional to collaborative to technology rich to a combination of many different learning and teaching styles rolled into one.
Acoustics are critical. As studies have shown, even modest background noise can negatively affect educational outcomes.
Colors (as I mentioned above) are one of the most studied facets of design. Specific colors invoke a variety of emotions and behaviors.
Lighting, whether natural or artificial, is key to the overall visual environment and certainly impacts students and teachers alike. Natural light cannot only result in energy savings, but it’s also linked to improved academic performance.
Furniture and furnishings are often time the last thing to consider when designing a productive classroom, but they are one of the most important and biggest features of the room. There are almost as many furniture choices as there are colors — flexible, reconfigurable, traditional, collaborative, formal, informal, technology friendly, etc, etc. The style of the furniture should be secondary to ensuring that it meets the needs and functions of the teachers and students. Additionally, the furniture chosen should be flexible enough to adapt to changing teaching methods and new technology tools as they come along.
The next time you’re in a classroom (or a casino) take a look around and think about the time and effort that went into developing the overall look and feel of the place. You’ll be able to quickly tell if it was the work of a professional designer and the result of a well thought out plan with furniture that fits, or simply a room full of after thoughts intended to fill a space.
P.S. Ever notice there are no windows or clocks in casinos? Someone told me, “It’s always daytime in Las Vegas!” No wonder we’re all so tired.
If you are ready to take control of computer use in your classroom, watch our free video here.