My ‘ideal’ classroom design is intended for a secondary English education classroom (either secondary students or preservice English educators). I decided to blend the target audiences because I believe preservice educators will be best served through learning in a space that they will need to manipulate as a part of lesson design. Air quality, ventilation, and temperature control are assumed.
There are three orientations pictured below. The room contains portable furniture – the square seating is actually four individual tables moved together to create a larger surface. Just as one shoe will not fit all feet, one classroom design will not fit all secondary students or teachers – nor will one static design meet all learning needs for one class throughout a learning cycle.
Wall Configuration & Landscape
The room has three solid walls and one window wall that overlooks established greenery. Ideally, various flowering plants would be situated among deciduous trees and conifers. Consequently, regardless of the time of year, the view outdoors would reflect varied growth and color.
Retractable room darkening shades with remote mechanism to accommodate comfort needs if sunny without eliminating greenery view or complete blackout for film or projector viewing.
Flooring, Lighting & Electrical
Wall-to-wall, low pile carpet would accommodate electrical outlet receptacles throughout the space. Ample floor-based electrical would provide needed power and also facilitate room modifications according to the learning activities.
Zone lighting with the ability to darken or illuminate near white boards/projection surface. General room lighting – dimmer/variable lighting available
Small profile, stable raised surface to accommodate 30 lbs weight minimum (laptop/tablet & materials)
Portable – multi-directional wheels with locking capability; raised chair
General Classroom Seating
Individual tables as surfaces – easily combined for 2, 3, or 4 person groups
Seats – individual with back support
Access to low profile laptops with 15″ screen stored in concealed room storage (or supplied by students depending on enrollment conditions)
Printer/scanner in room
Accessible projector ports and zone projection to display on one or all boards
Sound system with ceiling mounted speakers and variable volume adjustment.
Whiteboards – 3 – one on each wall
Tack strips mounted horizontally along the top of the board and beneath each whiteboard for group or student work display
Learning Activities & Flexible Room Design
These elements support a range of learning activities including small group, large group, individual, and mid-size group clusters. Seating can be changed on a daily basis or during class if the needs indicate a responsive environment.
The portable seating, easily combined surfaces, and ready access to electrical, computers, wifi, and projection embeds flexibility into the design. This flexible format can be adapted to fit varied needs for learners and instructors.
The ability to orient the large group or several small groups to whiteboards will facilitate collaborative work and use of visuals. The ‘roving presenter’ station can be easily moved to different zones to accommodate shifting presenters within the same class session while maintaining the chosen seating configuration for that day.