When schools are looking to create more classroom space, we look at why the pupils’ ideas should not be ignored. Looking to design a new productive learning environment? Then it’s time to canvas the kids in the classroom. Collaborating with pupils to design their own classrooms is not a new concept, but it’s becoming more common place.
From outdoor climbing frames to quiet reading corners kids have opinions on ‘their space’ and they’re inspiring innovative, relevant and highly effective learning environments across the globe. Of course, budgets matter and can’t be ignored, but even some of the more fantasy inspired designs can be modified to deliver workable, motivating spaces. Allowing pupils to make decisions on lighting, colour palette and furniture choices can help them define specific areas. Simply by asking them to visualise their ‘perfect’ classroom is prompting students to assess the way they want to learn. It’s all about making a space work better for the pupils that use it. Once you have the children’s views our Pod Space design team can work with you to turn their ideas in to reality and we are happy to advise on every aspect of the design and build.
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Flexibility and variety play a major part in modern classroom design, including the versatility to create a range of different learning spaces within one classroom and the option of transforming an indoor space into an outdoor one.
Just like the versatile ‘unfitted’ kitchen, key pieces of school equipment are being purposefully designed to meet multiple classroom needs – bookcases that move, desks that transform and even multi-coloured lighting that generates different moods. Brave, new designs are being introduced to encourage collaboration and discussion and it’s the students who are benefiting from this focus on creativity.
Learning spaces are transforming and redesigning – the classroom can provide an opportunity to teach from anywhere in the room, quite literally putting teachers at the centre of the action.
We can’t talk about innovative learning spaces without speaking about the rise of digital. Learning experiences are becoming even more interactive. From personal tablets to giant touch screen white boards, children are learning through hands on methods.
An interesting study conducted in 2011/12 saw the University of Salford’s School of the Built Environment team up with the British architecture firm Nightingale Associates to examine 751 pupils in 34 classrooms across seven UK primary schools. Pupils were assessed for academic performance in maths, reading and writing and classrooms were rated on environmental qualities including classroom orientation, natural light, acoustics and colour. The study found that classroom architecture and design significantly affected academic performance. In fact, it concluded that a school’s physical design can improve or worsen children’s academic performance by as much as 25% in early years.With this startling fact in mind, it seems there is even more of an argument to encourage the pupils themselves to play a part in designing their learning space.
If you are interested in finding out more about our Classroom Pods, please get in touch with our friendly Pod Space team.