A New Classroom Design Challenge: Students Will Gain a New Perspective on What Makes for Flood Education in the Classroom, Learning to Appreciate How the Classroom Environment Impacts the Learning Efficiency of Students

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All good invention begins with understanding the needs and wants of the customer. After all, they are going to be using the invention or new product and their input is critical to it being accepted. In this activity, your students will be both the customers and the designers of a new product ... the classroom of tomorrow.

The Challenge

Students should survey themselves to develop a realistic list of things they would like to see in the next generation of classroom. They may also survey some of their teachers to get input from those who also use the classroom. This can be facilitated through a disciplined brainstorming session, or series of sessions, in which ideas are identified, grouped, ranked, and prioritized.

Perhaps the ideas could be grouped by subcategories of the classroom such as:

* Size and shape of room

* Lighting

* Style and decor of room

* Heating

* Type of desks and working areas

* Storage and supplies on hand

* Learning methods (boards, electronic, personal computers, etc.)

* Audiovisual technologies

* Class period sizes and weekly frequency of classroom meetings

In the business world, matrices and spreadsheets are often used to rank/prioritize options identified. This technique, along with charts and drawings for the various classroom options, could be compiled to document student thinking and idea generation.

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Students should be free to explore the literature for what has been done in this area. Have new schools been built nearby where modern classrooms may be studied or inspected? Are there architectural firms that specialize in classroom design and can they be contacted for information, pictures, case studies, and such? In what professional meetings and conferences are classroom designs discussed, studied, and written about? Are copies of these conferences and papers available for reading?

Check in with the school media folks (the library) to get their input as well. I think you will find them most helpful about where learning and online education is heading. It could be most useful to this design challenge.

Here are some important questions to challenge student design:

1) Will one new classroom design suit all the grades or should there be designs for each grade? …