When I started thinking about the classrooms I would be teaching in this semester I thought it would be a good idea to write a full critique of each, in terms of what opportunities they created and the constraints they placed on me. To be honest, though, after a couple of posts on this subject I don’t really feel the need to go on, as I’ll just end up repeating myself. My posts on the rooms G062 and G045 (I’ve linked to these posts at the end of this post) probably contain everything I want to talk about. With this in mind, I thought I would round things off with a brief epilogue.
What better way to do this than with a visual display of what is considered to be the ultimate in early 21st century classrooms. Below you will see two images from a really good report that I found from the University of Oregon, which looked attempted to define the perfect classroom based on instructor and student use. Their findings are comprehensive (and available as a PDF download here).
As you’ll notice, I’ve captured these screen shots from their report. There are annotations describing the features of the perfect classroom (those dashed lines that you can see in the pics). Here are a few highlights:
- Provide a shaped ceiling to create a sense of enclosure, maximize sight lines to screen, and improve acoustics.
- Provide wall mounted light switches and motorized screen and shade controls for easy access from podium.
- Provide integrated, quality sound system with even distribution to maximize student comprehension.
- Provide ample space for instructor movement at the front of the classroom and throughout student seating areas.
- Use sled base chairs and movable tables to allow for flexible use of space.
- Provide lightweight, stable tables but assume table configuration will not change regularly.
- Provide white board wall. Avoid covering with screen or use full wall white board.
- Provide evenly spaced wall outlets near student seating areas. Avoid cost of data jack at student areas by providing robust wireless connection.
- Provide clock- locate for easy visibility from students and instructors perspective.
- Provide color and interest on walls.
- Provide visibility into classroom from hallway.
So, how does your classroom shape up to this idyllic image? Looking at it from this perspective, I haven’t got too much to complain about. I’d love to hear how this contrasts to your experiences.
If you’d like to read more about people describing their classes, you could start with my other posts in this series (Dealing with the physical aspects of the classroom: prologue, Dealing with the physical aspects of the classroom: In search of teaching paradise?, and Dealing with the physical aspects of the classroom: The curious case of G062). Also, please take a look at my concurrent series of posts in which I investigate the emotional aspects of classroom management!
I’d also recommend the posts written by Tyson Seburn (What classroom is perfect?) and Vicky Loras (The Ideal Classroom – My Post for Tyson Seburn’s Blog Challenge).