Tuesday, July 5, 2016

How Students and Teachers Designed 21st Century Classrooms

Students help revitalize and reinvigorate classrooms for 2015

Light, height, air. These tiny entities are the agents of change coming to the Madeleine classrooms in Fall 2015 that will transform and improve the way that our students learn.

And the students themselves helped make that happen.

Armed with suggestions and drawings from the students that showcased their dream classroom, a redesign team will revamp portions of each 1st through 8th grade classroom this summer. 

“These improvements will facilitate and encourage more of the great teaching that already takes place at the Madeleine,” said Joseph Nagel, eighth grade teacher. 

“Teachers will more easily be able to move around 
and teach from different parts of the room, and students will have greater access to whiteboards and storage areas.” 
The redesign of the classrooms has been carefully thought out, he said, to make the flow of teaching and learning effortless. 

On the first day of school, students in the main building found modern 
tackable wall surfaces that improved acoustics and allowed them to hear better and stay focused. Large magnetic whiteboards were added. Each classroom’s projector had been relocated higher on the primary teaching wall so that all students could more easily see the screen.

In place of the 1950s-era cloak-rooms in each classroom of the 
main building, built-in storage space, that will be behind horizontally sliding whiteboards, has allowed teachers and students to transition efficiently between different modes of learning. Also, located behind the whiteboards are the charging stations for our 1-1 iPad program. Devices are now able to remain fully charged they are easily accessible to students when needed.

Over the last year, two out of nine classrooms received new desks and ergonomic chairs that could be easily rearranged as curriculum changes, allowing students to sit in pairs or large collaborative groups. “We had an aggressive set of goals for a summer project and hoped to make a substantial impact on the look, space, utilization and functionality of each classroom,” said Jed Doust, Madeleine parent volunteer who is leading the summer construction project.

While there’s always more to be done, this work represents a giant leap to ensure we’re maximizing our investment and providing a world-class, 21st century learning environment for our children.” We are proud to move forward in our goal of providing an environment conducive to students learning the skills they need to compete in a 21st century world.

Doust is most excited to see the students learning in their new environment. “We’ve spent hundreds of hours poring over every possible detail to ensure we’re maximizing our invest- ment and providing a world-class, 21st century learning environment for our children.”
Mr. Nagel & teachers sharing design suggestions to architects 
All teachers, the school’s after-care director, and the Madeleine librarian were consulted all along the way and are looking forward to an environment that helps make teaching and learning natural and intuitive.

“The new rooms are intended to work like a well-designed device: when the user experience is smooth and intuitive, the device seems to melt away,” Nagel said. “So we hope it is with the new rooms: by making teaching and learning clear and natural, the students and their education will come that much more into focus.”

4th Grade with rolling desks and flex chairs
The School of the Madeleine, as a 21st Century 're-imagined' School, will now be known as the 'Next Generation School' and we have our students, all born in the 21st Century, as those of the 'next generation' to thank!

Take a look at the final results. You will notice all the elements in harmony: lighting, ceiling fans, sliding whiteboards, integrated technology and furniture conducive to student learning.

Sliding whiteboards with iPad charging stations
8th Grade with Steelcase Verb tables and flex chairs
You will notice behind the whiteboards we have plenty room for storage. Each classroom has 2 locations for iPad charging stations. Each stations can charge up to 20 iPads. The stations cost just over $100. This was an affordable and practical solution. No need for rolling carts. The white boards when fully extend lock to provide security for all the devices as well as other items of value. The storage

In the middle school we chose tables that provided tandem seating as well as individual white boards. These boards can be placed upright to the left/right of the student or in the center as a divider. Students use these boards for brainstorming and problem solving. The rolling desks can be placed in multiple formations. The light sea-green wall coverings are actually acoustical panels that allow for any item to be tacked or posted. Every surface in the room is either writable or tackable.

Tech Deck: Elmo, iMac and AppleTV 

Each classroom has a floating 'Tech Deck.' All the necessary technology is available to the teachers along with a floating desk top. The Elmo mounted to the wall opens up and can project any item placed on the desktop. The mounted iMac is available as is the AppleTV. Each device is connected to an HDMI hub and when 'hot' or in use, the projector knows which device needs to be projected. The AppleTV allows all the iPads in the room to be mirrored to the projector via AirPlay.