Flexibility: Key To Designing The Smart Classroom

Posted by Jerry Doll on Mon, Aug, 27, 2012 @ 10:08 AM

Designing Smart ClassroomDesigning a smart classroom can be challenging, especially because the term often has different meanings for different people. The classroom design phase also typically comes well before the implementation phase, especially in new construction projects. Significant changes between the time a classroom is designed and the time it is built can result in a learning space that does not actually meet the needs of the teachers and students. 

Designing a smart classroom with flexibility in mind is one way to avoid these unforeseen problems. Several factors must be taken into consideration when designing a smart classroom:

  • Teaching techniques: Different teaching styles sometimes require different classroom environments and equipment. It is important to remember that a classroom designed for a particular teacher may not work for others. This consideration is especially important in schools with shared classrooms. Some lessons work well in a traditional classroom setup, while others may be better received if students are able to sit in a circle, answer quiz questions on a computer or any number of other variations.
  • Learning preferences: Some students thrive in a group environment, while others need more one-on-one attention. Flexibility in the classroom environment allows educators to better meet the needs of all their students.
  • Lesson presentations: More dynamic teaching methods help students stay more engaged, especially in the age of video games and television. Giving teachers various options for presenting lesson material allows them to use multiple techniques that will help keep the interest of their students. 
  • Evolving technology: The classroom is not a space where the outside world can be ignored. To the contrary, it should be an environment that helps students learn how to live with modern technology. Adding computers to classroom desktops, shifting to electronic textbooks and giving teachers a way to do multimedia presentations are all ways to make smart classrooms more in line with the technology students are exposed to every day.

Of course, a basic desk and chair are not sufficient to meet the needs of a flexible smart classroom. Many educational institutions are shifting to desktops with integrated computers to give students more ways to learn. Some of these desktops have an angled computer screen below a transparent panel in the desktop, while others have a vertical screen that goes up and down with the click of a button.

Regardless of the classroom furniture you choose, it is important to keep flexibility in mind. Does the teacher need to have control of the display on the screen, or even the movement of the screen itself? Do students have enough room for both the computer and their traditional textbooks? What other scenarios might you need to accommodate in your smart classroom?

Because so many conditions must be met, and many of them can be a moving target, flexibility is key to designing a smart classroom. Obviously some infrastructure is required to be static, but innovative classroom furniture can provide long-term flexibility in an ever-changing educational environment.

Nova Solutions provides classroom furniture that allows educational institutions to stay flexible. Both teachers and students will benefit from our unique workstations. Find a representative in your area to learn more.

Topics: classroom design, learning space, smart classroom