Researchers Studying the Benefits of Modern Classroom Furniture
When learning can be more fluid and more interdisciplinary, the result can be transformative deep learning.
An Australian research collaboration project is assessing the educative value of modern, innovative classrooms; and then challenging teachers on how they might use these spaces to their potential.
The researchers are tracking teachers and students at one school across a year, surveying and comparing results in traditional, student-centred classrooms with clusters of tables, with highly informal classrooms with furniture such as beanbags, whiteboards around the walls, and no teacher table.
So what are they learning about what a modern 21st-century classroom should look like? The ideal space is versatile. Shared spaces and innovative educational furniture enable collaborative teaching and student-directed learning.
It seems that our next generation of workers has to be collaborative, have to access information very quickly, and be very lateral in the way they approach problems, so they need a learning environment that helps to build those skills.
While the research project is about space, it is really about teachers adapting to change, about rethinking how they teach in light of the future needs of their students. Space and classroom furniture matters, but how teachers use space is still a critical thing.