Did you know that traditional classroom design comes from the Industrial Era? This outdated learning environment design pushes obedience over autonomy and recitation over actual learning. How many workplaces do you know of where the boss stands at the front of the room and the employees are all lined up in rows, facing one direction while working? Chances are, not many. If we want students who are truly Life Ready, it’s time to change how we visualize our classrooms and do our best to emulate the current work environment.
It’s not always easy (or cheap) to revamp your learning environment to encourage student-oriented learning. Check out these suggestions to overhaul your learning facilities on the cheap. Add your ideas in the comments!
Technology is interwoven with productivity in the business world. That’s why it’s so crucial for students to learn how to integrate technology with their Life Ready skills. The learning environment should be conducive to students using technology to better prepare them for the workforce.
The learning environment should be designed to leverage technology. That includes access to the technology itself (ie. Chromebooks or iPads), charging stations, and teacher presentation options like a SMART Board.
If you have the budget, it’s a great idea to integrate technology automatically into your classroom furniture. A budget-friendly option is to include a computer monitor at each group table to kids can better connect with instructional materials. You can even try a Google Chromecast to allow kids to connect wirelessly on a tight budget.
Want more classroom tech suggestions? Check out our blog on the best education apps for this school year.
Technology isn’t everything. Learners still need to learn how to collaborate and work in groups, which is crucial to being successful in the workplace.
If you want to create an environment that encourages group work on a budget, try rearranging students’ existing desks. Instead of putting desks in rows, group them facing each other. This decreases cost by keeping the existing furniture and encouraging collaboration.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can also try making a DIY whiteboard table (tutorial here). Students can use whiteboard tables to brainstorm, collaborate, and take notes in a way that’s shareable, fun, and effective.
Although group work is important, learners also need to be empowered to have autonomy and make decisions. That’s why varied seating options are a great consideration for any student-oriented learning environment.
Some learners find traditional desks boring, stuffy, and confining. There are many learners who cannot concentrate as well when “chained” to a desk without much option for mobility. Classroom planners can encourage learner freedom and creativity with different seating options. If you’re on a budget, try getting crafty with DIY seats made from crates or tires (tutorial here). Place these creative seating options off to the sides of the classroom so learners can choose where they want to work.
Today’s students are tomorrow’s workers. Our classroom environments need to teach today’s students how to work in the economy of tomorrow. Try these fun and innovative ways to spice up your classroom on the cheap while encouraging student collaboration and Life Ready learning.
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