Schools and Learning institutions need to assure both classroom furniture and classroom layouts are compatible with the method of teaching adopted. More and more, today's classroom environment fosters project-based and collaborative learning. Supporting these educational approaches are new ways of designing and fitting out the classroom, providing opportunities for students to innovate.
In a successful environment, in addition to durability classroom furniture needs to be:
In project-based learning, students work in groups. To accommodate this, student desks or tables must be capable of being arranged into compact pods to accommodate six to eight students.
Here, flexibility and the ability to rearrange the desks for uses in multiple ways is key. So look for desktops that taper from back to front, approximating a piece of pie.
When gathered, this shape allows a tight circle to be formed, which encourages participation on the parts of all students in the group. The desks can also be arranged in smaller groups or totally separated for individual work or testing.
Consider tabletops that are made of whiteboard material to give students a place to jot down their ideas during problem solving sessions. Colours and table shape can also create an atmosphere of creativity.
For Art educational programs, tables used need to stand up to the requirements of an art studio - large work surfaces which offer added durability, extra strong frames to provide stability and add support when students are using heavy materials like clay, and the addition of casters for adding mobility and flexibility.
As the science classroom or lab will be using chemicals and heat, the work surfaces need to stand up to such. Moreover, tables have to provide large work surfaces, with strength and stability needed to support heavy materials. Optional casters can also provide greatest flexibility. Other options are to create some height in the lab with stand-up height tables and lab stools.
Empire's ACER range of tables, larger than industry standard, has been developed specifically for these purposes.
The days of traditional, single-function classroom furniture are dwindling. Today's classroom has students standing, sitting on stools, rolling on chairs, and casual lounging to collaborate. Above all, classroom seating must offer a range of movement, positions and functions.
Seating really does make a difference in a collaborative learning environment. Students need to be able to interact with students all around them and any chair that doesn't help them do this becomes a hindrance on the learning process.
Most of the student projects in today's learning environment will take place over more than one class period. As such, it's essential to have space to safely leave or store in-progress projects which are easily accessible. And, educators need mobile storage for organising hands-on project materials and tools, as well as mobile units to house projectors and computers for presentations.
Even in project-based classrooms, teachers need to present information to the entire class. Increasingly, these presentations are augmented by visual and audio-visual materials. Utilising mobile units which house projectors and computers, and having mobile lecterns can all assist teachers in making more effective presentations.
In addition to performing a function in the classroom, furnishings also contribute to the learning environment by adding colour to the room. The importance of colour in the classroom cannot be underestimated – from selecting a colour to create a mood for a room, carrying a design theme or element into the classroom, or spreading the school colours.
Today's classes make great use of technology - students need the ability to instantly connect with global data and other resources. Optimised classrooms allow students to have power for their computers or tablet devices as well as WiFi. Classrooms need to be designed with adequate power capabilities for technology-infused students and teachers.
Having the right classroom furniture complements the right curriculum and enhances the student experience. Talk to Empire Office Furniture to assist with designing and fitting out your teaching environment.