Classroom Design and Management
An institution’s teaching and learning facilities are critical to the success of its institutional mission, and consequently are a high priority for support. This importance translates to the need to provide current, reliable, well-maintained, documented, and supported technologies in all spaces where teaching and learning activities occur. focusEDU’s classroom design and management consulting expertise can ensure a sound learning environment.
Traditionally, building and space planning follows the “master plan” approach of envisioning what needs will be felt over the long-term period (10-20 years or more) and designing infrastructure to anticipate those needs. For instance, if a new building is projected on the south side of campus, planners want to preemptively ensure that sewage and water lines can handle the anticipated demands.
Information technology planning, on the other hand, cannot reasonably predict 10 years into the future due to the significant rate of change of computer-related technologies. For example, Moore’s Law, one of the predictors of this high rate of change, has accurately projected over the past several decades that computer power would double every 12 to 24 months, resulting in exponential growth in processing capacity. Instructional technology, and consequently, classroom technology, requires a planning approach closer to that of an IT planning model rather than a facilities master plan model.
A best-practice response to this planning dilemma is to base classroom planning decisions on a set of established and accepted design principles. In this context, principles are rules or guidelines that elucidate components of the teaching/learning process. Such principles should be communally adopted based on collaboration among faculty, staff, and administrators with input from students. Once a set of agreed-upon principles have been clearly articulated, they can be used to create a strategic context within which to drive tactical decisions about specific technology alternatives.
Classroom design principles have a significantly longer useful life expectancy than the specific technologies employed to implement them. This enables a consistency in classroom design efforts over time, while simultaneously adapting to new and emerging technology options.
In principle-based classroom design, specific classroom construction, renovation, and upgrade decisions are guided by a set of communally-adopted classroom design principles. The classroom design principles are discovered and articulated through a collaborative process involving the full range of participants in the teaching and learning process. They are intended to set standards for classroom design and renovation without mandating “cookie-cutter” implementations. Rather, individual classroom design should adhere to the institutional standards while simultaneously accommodating the discipline-specific requirements and preferences of local faculty users.
focusEDU’s classroom design and management consulting service can facilitate the creation of principle-based classroom design standards. We can help your institution analyze your classroom infrastructure and design a plan for building and maintaining your envisioned classroom environment. This approach is particularly useful in implementing HyFlex-capable learning spaces.