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New Educational Approaches' Effect on Classroom Design

Automation and digitisation are changing the way we live and work – fast! We are already seeing some jobs disappear and other jobs being restructured. The reality is a large proportion of jobs which exist today will be extinct in 20 years. To meet the demands of our quickly evolving society new educational approaches are being deployed in today's classroom.

STEM and STEAM are curriculums which are gathering increasing support amongst schools. STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. STEAM adds Art to the STEM curriculum by drawing on design principles and encouraging creative solutions.

These programmes are considered a necessity in today's global economy to ensure students have the technological know-how to fit into exciting careers and economies in the modern world.

Focus on teaching these competencies needs to be supported by placing students into a classroom environment that fosters project-based and collaborative learning. It is imperative to have classrooms designed and fitted out appropriately.

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When designing such classrooms, there are a few requirements teachers and facilitators need to adhere to. These are -

1. Flexibility

Classrooms should be flexible. The furniture in the classroom should be easy to move around and form small groups where students can work as a team, and easily relocated back for individual coursework and exams.

2. Efficient Storage

As a lot on project-based learning occurs, students will require adequate storage space for project materials. The access to the space should be quick and easy. Furthermore, the storage should be configured so that it doesn't interfere with classroom flexibility, enabling students to move around it (should the need arise). Ease of cleaning and care should also be considered when choosing storage solutions, especially for the design of cabinets and countertops to increase the longevity of the classroom.

3. Fast and Safe Connectivity

Another consideration in flexibility is access to power sources. The furniture needs to be flexible, but configured in a way that doesn't disrupt connectivity to electricity. The classrooms need to be technologically advanced and should have safe access to a power source to power their laptops, computers, tablets and other handheld devices.

4. Furniture and Classroom Colour

Colours play a major role in boosting productivity. Cool colours, such as green, blue and purple, calm the mind and foster greater concentration. On the other hand, warm colours, such as red, yellow and orange, make a space more cheerful and energetic. Therefore, a school should choose furniture colours and wall paint depending on the type of classroom environment they want to create. It is best to choose colours for the desks, chairs, cabinets and countertops that stimulate students to be both creative and productive.

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5. Classroom Lighting

It is important to have a well-lit classroom. Schools should use natural light as much as possible (multiple studies have shown natural light boosts productivity !), but when natural light is unavailable, the classroom design needs to compensate and include lighting fixtures that mimic natural light and provide ample lighting for students to execute their projects and experiments.

Following these five classroom design specifications will aid greatly in providing the ideal learning environment that helps students express creativity and become more productive.

The right classroom design complements the right curriculum and enhances the student experience. Talk to Empire Office Furniture to assist with designing and fitting out your teaching environment.

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