To successfully design learning environments in this rapidly changing world, we need to embrace the needs of our students socially, emotionally, physically, and cognitively. Today we have the opportunity to rethink learning environments and design them to support our students to feel like they belong, they feel safe and secure and will inspire them to learn.
As a former educator, I believe now more than ever, our focus should be on creating student-centered environments. Today we have a chance to create inclusive, equitable, and supportive learning environments for our students!
Let's start with re-thinking and evaluating how our learning environments may or may not inspire students. Have you ever just stopped long enough to look about your classroom and think, how do the living and non-living things within this space interact? Can you visualize your learning environment as if it were a biological ecosystem, and make connections between how your environment may impact your students? Let's explore how our spaces can be redesigned to become student-centered ecosystems that inspire!
In this series of blogs, we are exploring how a student-centered ecosystem is built to ensure students can confidently say the following:
For more information on the other two spaces, use the links above.
What's an "I'm Inspired" Space & Why Does it Matter?
“I’m inspired” spaces can easily be achieved by simply asking your students how they would like their classroom to look, feel, and function. But before you do that, take the time to step outside your room, close the door, and then walk in as if you were one of your students. Take note, are you inspired?
Things to think about when observing the non-living components of your classroom:
- Color and clutter. Is the room distracting and overwhelming?
- Furniture that is bulky and static. Can students collaborate and have in-person conversations.
- The room is crowded. Does the layout allow for the flow of the classroom to be efficient?
How to Create “I’m Inspired” Spaces with Classroom Furniture
School furniture elements in "I'm inspired" spaces will need to serve multiple purposes and their uses will play an important role to spark interest and stimulate creativity to build students’ cognitive awareness. Spaces should adapt and transform quickly so students can easily transition. Additionally, effective learning spaces should support the desired teaching strategies and innovative learning activities.
Work surfaces need to be:
For example, having tables that flip and nest with writable surfaces enable students to brainstorm or demonstrate what they know. Showing what they know to their peers stimulates creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork. Re-teaching or coaching is now part of the students' roles in the learning environment.
To discover more on the concept of a student-centered ecosystem and why it's crucial for student success, read our article, "How to Effectively Create Student-Centered Learning Environments."
Flexible, multi-functional furniture on casters will also be essential for modern learning environments. Collaborative tables and desks allow students to decide how to create their space and give them ownership.
Next Steps to Building a Student-Centered Ecosystem
Inspire your students to learn! Creating spaces that meet their needs does not need to be hard or difficult. Reach out and we will be happy to help!
If you'd like more information on how to create a successful student-centered ecosystem that inspires learning, let us know! At Artcobell, our furniture experts are passionate about helping students succeed by equipping schools with the tools they need. From help designing classroom layouts to tips for making a school furniture purchase, we're your partner for creating student-centered learning environments that work!