This week we explored the possibilities for creating a 21st century classroom. Teachers across the country are rethinking how the spaces students learn in impact the process of learning and developing solution to address these changing needs. The classroom I chose to reimagine is the main graphics classroom in our building. The room serves many purposes from allowing traditional hands on learning experiences and creation, serves as a place to lecture, a computer lab, a place to conduct critiques of student work, and a open lab for students to work in when class is not in session. The other challenge is that 3 to 5 faculty members and the lab assistants share the classroom each semester. Each faculty member has their own needs from the classroom which means the room needs to be flexible. I also had to consider the fact that some equipment simply could not be moved to another location, like the screen-printing press in the corner. There are a few rooms off this room that serve as storage and one will serve as a washout sink for screen-printing shortly. There are two other classrooms used but this one is used the most.
Photos of Current Classroom
In past weeks, I have talked about the fact that most graphics classes follow the learning theories of Constructivism and Experiential Learning. Students are given a problem and some foundational knowledge, but it is up to the student the find his or her own path to his or her own individual solution. The instructor and the classmates offer feedback along the way. My goal with the redesign was to facilitate the exploration process, to allow the students to have access to anything they might need to create their solutions. I also wanted to ensure the room was flexible enough to allow each faculty member to configure the room as they may need. The biggest issues with the room are the lack of storage and efficient layout. The instructor can’t see what the students are doing while demoing. There is not enough room for critique without laying all over the computers. There are two rows of desks that do little and offer little to the students. The equipment the students need like the Xyron machine, the button maker, the screen-printing equipment, cutting mats, book making equipment and everything else are scattered all over the room where ever they can fit. Bulky flat files and cabinets are also scattered throughout. Basically, there is a lot of stuff that works, but could work so much better.
My first goal was to set up zones in the classroom based on the main usage. At the very end of the room, I allowed for more room to conduct critiques. I also added these touch screens for looking at student work that Adobe is developing called Project Context (http://tv.adobe.com/watch/max-2013/a-year-before-the-max-keynote-envisioning-the-context-project/). These screens would eliminate the need to print things out all the time and allow for more productive critiques. I also reoriented the classroom to face that wall and put the instructor behind the students so that the instructor can see what is going on. The instructor has easy access to the front of the room and the whiteboards while going over material. The instructor station could also be used to run the third touch screen on the wall in the work area. I put all the printers and scanners along one wall with storage and corkboards for those wishing to pin work for critique. I eliminated all but the portable light tables because they can be moved to where ever they are needed. The main workspace features moveable tables with storage underneath and stools that can be reconfigured as needed. The very end of the room features tables for cutting, a variety of storage solutions, the smaller equipment like the Xyron machines, and the screen-printing equipment. The tables here are also moveable and feature cutting mats on top. I think this new layout opens up the space and allows for the flexibility for each instructor to meet the needs of their class. I tried to reuse as much as possible to reduce budget issues that may prevent this becoming a reality. This would most likely be done in stages and much of the new storage and tables could be built on site in the woodshop.
Proposed Classroom in Sketch-Up (All items at actual size)
“A Year Before the MAX Keynote — Envisioning the Context Project.” Adobe.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013. <http://tv.adobe.com/watch/max-2013/a-year-before-the-max-keynote-envisioning-the-context-project/>.
Architects, OWP/P , Bruce Mau Design, and VS Furniture. The third teacher: 79 ways you can use design to transform teaching and learning. New York: Abrams, 2010. Print.
Bill, David. “8 Tips and Tricks to Redesign Your Classroom.” Edutopia. N.p., 6 Aug. 2013. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. <http://www.edutopia.org/blog/8-tips-redesign-your-classroom-david-bill>.
Kahl, Melanie. “4 Lessons the Classroom Can Learn from the Design Studio.” The Creativity Post. N.p., 9 Jan. 2012. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. <http://www.creativitypost.com/education/4_lessons_the_classroom_can_learn_from_>.
Kahl, Melanie. “Remake Your Class: 6 Steps to Get Started.” Edutopia. N.p., 20 Aug. 2013. Web. 25 Nov. 2013. <http://http://www.edutopia.org/blog/steps-to-redesign-your-classroom-melanie-kahl>.
“Remake Your Class – The Third Teacher +.” The Third Teacher +. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. <http://thethirdteacherplus.com/remake-class>.