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4 Characteristics of Effective STEM Classroom Design

An effective STEM classroom cultivates a positive culture that is conducive to learning. When designing a STEM classroom, the goal is to create an environment that inspires students to be creative and collaborative. One way of designing a STEM classroom is to add adaptable and functional classroom furniture. These can work as key tools to prompt students to think out of the box.

Project News: Ridge View Secondary College

Office Line is proud to have provided our product for the newly completed Ridge View Secondary College in collaboration with Parry & Rosenthal Architects & the Department of Education.

Office Line to Participate in this Year’s National FutureSchools Expo

At Office Line, we are passionate about bringing quality furniture to the education sector.  Join us at the National FutureSchools Expo and Conferences 2019, a much-awaited education Australian convention.

The two-day event will be held at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, from March 21 to 22, 2019. The first day will start from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and the second day will run from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

What is the National FutureSchools?

Organised by EduTECH, the National FutureSchools Expo is the biggest education showcase in the country. With over 80 suppliers featured in two days, the exhibition aims to highlight a wide range of products and solutions that uphold and improve education. For education professionals, this exhibit allows an opportunity to meet the country's top vendors and invest in new technologies that will be beneficial to their institution.

A Makers Playground will be open to all event participants, where attendees can experience authentic learning in a simulated environment. There will also be a Robotics Demo on the exhibition floor where you can watch live demonstrations of robots performing a range of movements, such as playing sports, dancing and conducting rescue challenges.

Event Speakers

New York Times best-selling author Sir Ken Robinson will be at the National FutureSchools Expo to lend his expertise on creativity and innovation in education. He was a speaker at the prestigious TED Conference with over 300 million views in over 150 countries. Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education, Robinson’s latest work, includes revolutionary research on Australia’s troubled educational system.

Lisa Rodgers, Chief Executive Officer for the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), will also be present at the event. Other speakers include Dr Gary Stager, Dan Haesler, Dr Kate Highfield and Dr Chip Kimball.

Event Participants

National FutureSchools will have five major conferences, designed for senior leadership in various roles within K-12 education. Those who work in schools and education ministries are highly encouraged to attend:

  • Teaching Staff
    • Classroom Teachers
    • Computing Teachers
    • STEM Teachers
  • School Leadership Teams
    • Principals
    • Deputy/Assistant Principals
    • Heads of Departments
    • Curriculum Leaders
    • Teaching Directors
    • Heads of Library
    • Leaders of eLearning
  • Information Communication Technology Management
    • ICT Directors
    • ICT Managers and Directors
    • ICT Integrators and Facilitators
  • Special Needs and Support
    • School Councillors/Therapists/Psychologists
    • Learning Support Officers
    • SEN Coordinators
  • Systemic Leaders
    • Education Peak Bodies, Associations and Representative Bodies
    • Government Departments of Education

Where will Office Line be stationed?

You’ll see Office Line at Booth 713. Our EN range will be on display for browsing and will include the EN Classic, EN One Chair and Gratnells Tray Storage. Feel free to visit our booth to take a closer look at our selection.

Chairs, school desks and storage solutions all contribute to a student’s learning experience. As a first-class educational furniture supplier, we make sure we provide only durable and ergonomic furniture to your schools. Partner with Office Line by joining us this March or by calling us today. 

Project News: Emmanuel Catholic College

 

Office Line recently provided interior design services and supplied bespoke furniture solutions for Emmanuel Catholic College's new learning areas.

How to Develop the Physical Environment to Create Adaptable Learning Spaces

 

One of the ever-present challenges in the education sector is adapting to the different learning styles of each student. Different factors affect the learning experience, so creating adaptable learning spaces provides an ideal learning environment.

In 2016, New Zealand’s Ministry of Education conducted a study about the design features of learning spaces and its impact on the learning experience. The study concluded that both educators and students should be encouraged to utilise the opportunities of different learning spaces.

Developing the core features of a learning space can expand these opportunities. This article highlights the link between the physical features of a learning space with a student’s learning experience.

Lighting

Studies that discuss the effect of lighting on student performance are often focused on controlling lighting levels. Studies tend to agree that natural lighting is preferable because of higher levels of achievement in class. The limited illumination due to overcast weather, shorter days or not enough windows was found to be the downside of natural lighting. With artificial lighting, warm white lights were favoured over fluorescent lighting. Fluorescent strips had links to a reduction of a student’s focus and increased hyperactivity.

Strategically installing windows and skylights as a source of natural light has a positive effect on the learning experience of students. It is also an economic and environmentally sound solution as it reduces energy consumption.

Heating and Ventilation

Studies on heating appear to be similar to lighting, with a focus on the control of temperature levels. The negative effects caused by hot temperatures and stuffiness can lead to drowsiness and drops in the attention span of students.

The debate is ongoing about the optimal temperature as it varies depending on the type of activity being performed and individual preferences. For the best results, the classroom temperature can be adjusted based on feedback from the students and staff.

Acoustics

Focus on ambient noise and reverberation when it comes to learning space acoustics. The effects of poor acoustics can cause misinterpretation or distraction. One solution is to look at the layout of the learning area and identify the noisy areas, usually the larger open spaces. Discuss the use of sound deadening materials such as carpets, insulation and room partitions. Another option is the use of microphones for class presentations.

Furniture, fittings and equipment

A comfortable working environment is a key feature to improving the learning experience. Everything from school furniture, such as chairs, desks and storage spaces, to high tech whiteboards, computer access and charging stations contributes to a comfortable and convenient learning experience. According to the 2016 study, uncomfortable school chairs, in particular, were among the most commonly raised issue when students were asked about studying in the classroom.

For comfort, the size and shape of classroom chairs and stools should be designed, at least, to ergonomically match the average size of the year group; varying sizes of chairs would accommodate the range of sizes of students.

Since 1988, Office Line has been a trusted source of quality furniture to the educational sector in Australia. From kindergartens and secondary schools to colleges and universities, we provide everything from a set of chairs to a complete classroom fit-out.

We are proud of the personal and professional services we offer to our clients across the country.

Call 1800 333 116 and get in touch with us today.

Spark Imagination and Creativity with Inspiring Learning Spaces

interactive classroom

There is a greater need for schools to create an environment that inspires imagination and more specifically, learning. One way to create these learning spaces is to leverage technology in a classroom setting. Open interaction in the learning process quickens the pace of learning and encourages effective communication among students and teachers.

Why convert your classroom?

Here are some reasons why classrooms need to shift towards inspired learning:

  • Motivate learners and staff. A well-designed learning space will have a motivational effect on students and teachers. Design experts agree that the mood of a space makes an impact on teaching and learning. Learning areas that maximise natural light and use less formal furniture, for example, foster an environment that is easy to work in.
  • Promote collaboration. Today’s schools are not just venues for acquiring academic knowledge. Students are equipped with skills teaching them to be capable and confident citizens. One such skill is collaboration. As students are given opportunities to work in groups, they discover the values of teamwork and interpersonal relationships. This helps them easily adapt to team-orientated workspaces in the future.
  • Encourage flexibility. With rapid advances in technology, flexibility has become an integral part of designing learning spaces. After all, the workspaces of today promote an open, flexible and team-oriented approach. A large component of an educator’s role  is to prepare students for the workplace, therefore classrooms should reflect this look and feel from as early as pre-primary and beyond.
  • Introduce new teaching methods. Digital technology is integrated into the lives of today’s students. When used well, digital resources support, enhance and amplify the learning experience. Learning becomes an interactive experience for the students, giving them more creativity and control of when, how and the pace in which they learn.

Making space for technology

A number of schools who have adopted technology into their curriculum have reported positive results in their students’ learning experience. In a study conducted by an architectural design firm in Scotland, teaching staff observed the following results:

  • A higher degree of student engagement
  • Increased peer-to-peer learning
  • More collaboration between students and teachers

Digital technology, however, does not and should not replace face-to-face interaction. Rather, it is a tool to facilitate the learning process.

Some tools that schools can utilize include:

  • Tablet PCs and laptops
  • Interactive whiteboards
  • Assistive technology (for students with cognitive disabilities)
  • Video recording facilities

Using technology as a learning and teaching tool will enable classrooms to evolve towards interactivity and flexibility. This will skew towards changing how classrooms are designed, and move towards a workplace-like model. If this is how educators are preparing students for tomorrow, today’s learners will be better equipped and spark change for the generations to come after them.

Furniture that elevates the classroom experience

As educational methods continue to evolve over the years, there is a need for learning environments to break away from traditional classroom interiors. While there is no single blueprint for a creative classroom design, there is an emphasis to incorporate innovative furniture solutions that increase collaboration, engage students and facilitate improved teaching methods.

  • Flexible seating

Flexible seating options such as floor chairs and mobile chairs and stools, enable students to choose where they work and with whom, allowing them to change their positions and location as needed. They also allow the students to move around, increasing blood flow and oxygen levels, which all helps to keep young minds more alert and focused.

In addition, an uncomfortable student is a distracted student. Flexible seating encourages students to find the best position to stay focused, calm and productive.

  • Collaborative tables

Collaborative tables are designed to fit together in multiple arrangements; individual, pairs and larger groups. Having the option to create collaborative spaces provides students with the option of a group workspace for assignments and projects. This solution is not only great for students, but also convenient for teachers. The designs help to organise and supervise students as well as accommodate various learning and teaching styles.

  • Ottoman sets

Ottomans are great classroom seating options because they give students more freedom to move around. They can turn to face their teachers or their classmates as the task demands. Due to their small form, the ottomans are also easy to physically move around to suit individual and group projects.

Additionally, ottomans can be paired with a comfortable sofa lounge to make for cosy reading environments or social spaces for breaks.

  • Whiteboards and pin boards

Whiteboards are beneficial for visual learners, giving them the opportunity to absorb information in multiple formats. The whiteboards will help increase retention and synthesis of information. Aside from classroom discussions, they are also great for interactive exercises and brainstorming sessions.

Pin boards serve to inspire and motivate. For example, they can be used to showcase students' works and photos. This will encourage young learners and help them feel that their talents are appreciated and valued.

Office Line inspires learning and imagination

We are an established Australian-based company supplying quality furniture and fittings to educational institutions. We can provide everything your campus needs, from classroom storage to a complete classroom fit out.

We pride ourselves in offering personalised and professional service to our clients around Australia.

Contact us on 1800 333 116 for enquiries.