As the world is changing, we need to change accordingly to adapt to those changes or else we will fall behind. In the case of classrooms, in the 21st Century, they need to be more flexible in efficiency and design compared to the traditional classrooms. Every concept like fabrication space, visualization space and presentation space should be re-engineered to fit the changing needs and competent world.
Let us discuss about the different ways with which designers and educators can reduce distractions and enhance learning experience in classrooms.
Schools, churches etc have utilized flexible demising walls to increase and divide large classrooms as desired. A large space can also be divided using rolling acoustical walls. Examples of such walls are cubicles found in offices. In a classroom, these kind of portable walls can be used to form small study groups and then remove them to use the room as a whole for presentation purposes. This kind of utilization is prefered by both students and teachers.
Carpeting rooms, like library, can reduce noise and help the amount of effort to keep room clean but Vinyl Composite Flooring (VCT) is preferred more as it is recyclable though it is expensive. But recent advancements in floor armouring materials have reduced labour expenses significantly. Nanotechnology armouring is capable of protecting floors, school lockers and bathroom partitions up to 10 years with just one coating.
A good teacher is the single most valuable asset of future classrooms. In classrooms with Audio-Visual equipments, there should be USB points and electrical outputs next to the teacher so he/she can do presentations and share articles easily and quickly.
Smart whiteboard is another flexible tool that has become everyone’s favourite. Affordable integrated LCD or LED versions of these whiteboards are available compared to 70 inch touch-screen models.
Students, like teachers, should also be provided with a flexible and smart space. Desks can be replaced by flexible furniture for enhance collaborative learning. There should be desks that can accommodate 2 to 3 students, with laptop and printed materials with electrical supplies and USB connections.
A good amount of a school’s total electrical expense goes for lighting. In the 21st Century, when energy is a concern, we should take steps to ensure reduced energy consumption. This can be achieved by incorporating energy efficient lighting technology.
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, HVAC, takes up the most electrical energy in a school. With advancement of technology, energy efficient HVAC systems are available that can reduce energy consumption considerably. We can also manually control these systems for efficient power saving.
We can conclude that, classrooms of 21st century need to be re-engineered for better flexibility and efficiency that will enhance the students’ learning experience. Despite all that, a teacher remains the most important asset in a classroom.