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.
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.
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.
- UBT Digital
- Tags: learning spaces
Spark Imagination and Creativity with Inspiring Learning Spaces
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.
- Marc Bartolome
- Tags: Classroom Design
Flexible Learning Spaces: Spaces Designed to Enhance Imagination and Learning
Newly developed schools across the globe have adopted the layout of flexible learning spaces with a design focusing primarily on future-focused learning and teaching. The concept of flexible learning places goes beyond classrooms and applies to the library, the hallways and even the cafeteria. In flexible learning spaces, the environment in which you learn matters.
What Constitutes a Flexible Learning Space?
In an interview with New Zealand's Ministry of Education and Director of the Sydney Centre for Innovation and Learning, Mr Stephen Collis, it was identified there are three specific layers of a learning environment.
The physical layer consists of the confines, the furniture and other physical elements of the learning space. The virtual space consists of any form of media and information that flows through the learning space. Lastly, the cultural space involves the students, teachers, parents and everyone that shapes the behaviours and routines in the learning environment.
According to Collis, these three elements of a learning space can be used to create a more flexible learning environment. Educators can study each layer and see if there is anything that constrains the learning experience of students. What changes can be made to maximise the potential of the learning space?
Collis believes that flexible learning spaces that favour the needs of students must allow them to take breaks and re-focus, learn at their own pace or any permissible action that will give them more of what they need to learn. Having that kind of freedom and flexibility makes flexible learning spaces a space for everybody.
Furniture in Flexible Learning Spaces
In exploring the physical aspect of flexible learning spaces, comfortable furniture is a key consideration for both the students and teachers. Ergonomics, specifically, is an important factor in helping students focus for longer periods of time.
Flexible learning spaces must have furniture that can accommodate both group and individual learning requirements. At the same time, the furniture must be robust and durable enough to withstand everyday use, especially in a flexible learning space where chairs and tables are likely to be moved around. Adjustable furniture is also preferable to increase comfort, accessibility and inclusivity of the flexible learning space.
Ergonomic and Flexible Furniture from Office Line
For educational institutions that are looking to adopt the concept of flexible learning spaces, Office Line is a reliable source of furniture ideal for the classrooms of the future. As one of Australia's most trusted companies in educational furniture, we hand pick each product that goes into our catalogue in order to give you an excellent range of furniture sourced from only well-known and trusted brands in the industry.
From ergonomic school chairs to sleek and modern classroom whiteboards, each product is designed with the needs of the students in mind. Office Line is your one-stop shop for everything you need to build an accessible, inclusive and flexible learning space for the classroom of tomorrow. We offer reliable delivery and on-site installation services by request.
- Kendall Broun
- Tags: Classroom Design
The Importance of Understanding You, Our Client
As a trusted and long-term supplier of school furniture, the team at Office Line aim to consistently provide the best possible solutions for our clients. We are constantly looking for areas to improve by working closely and listening to the needs of our clients. We regularly meet with, and interview our existing customers to discuss such areas as product and delivery satisfaction, areas for improvement and any general issues they may encounter during the purchasing process. Our key goal is to streamline the supply of quality educational furniture whilst providing the best possible service.
Office Line not only listens to feedback provided but also provides solutions based on a thorough understanding of what the client wants. It is important for us to know what kind of issues our clients encounter when managing the supply and maintenance of educational furniture.
It is from this feedback we have come to understand our clients are often time poor, have set quality standards for furniture, face strict budgets and demand products to be available and delivered promptly once ordering has taken place.
The team at Office Line takes the time to develop good working relationships with each and every client, which is why we have become one of Australia’s preferred furniture suppliers. We offer a diverse range of high quality products to suit any budget, exceptional customer service, and can deliver in a timely manner. Our in-house team of consultants and designers go the extra mile to achieve customer satisfaction.
We deliver a sincere service and always take the necessary steps to achieve a customer’s deliverable. Recent examples include sourcing and delivering shrubs and plants for an office area fit out, despite being a furniture supplier rather than a nursery.
Innovative School Furniture Solutions in Australia
For the most discerning educational institutions in Australia, Office Line is committed to innovatively providing school furniture that meets specific requirements. View our range of chairs, tables and mobile tote trolleys that are ideal for the classrooms of today and of the future.
Get in touch with us today.
- Kendall Broun
- Tags: School Furniture
21st Century Libraries: Innovative Library Designs of Tomorrow
Libraries are no longer areas where students research subjects alone, they have become collaborative hubs, areas for self-directed learning and group activities.
Our expert in-house designer states transforming a traditional library space can be a quick and simple process. Replacing towering, static shelving with adaptable furniture and low mobile bookcases is recommended to keep the space open and inviting. Small rooms can be opened up to allow for group projects, with circulation desks and various sized seating. Even desktops can be turned into writeable whiteboard spaces to encourage collaboration and sharing that previous library spaces had discouraged. It is recommended to provide a space within the library for students to socialise and relax before and after school, and during their study breaks.
Libraries that consist of varying spaces can also accommodate movie and quiz nights, teacher/parent nights and co-curricular activities outside general school hours. Case studies have shown that libraries that include several collaborative teaching and student spaces, staff offices, professional development areas and student lounges with flexible furniture are conducive to better teacher/student interaction.
Teachers are looking to create more vibrant, active learning spaces rather than the traditional place of silence. Students can gather, work in small groups but still be open to a transparent space where learning can be seen without barriers. Libraries of tomorrow will become spaces to encourage exploration, creativity and collaboration between both students, teachers and parents alike.
Investing in quality lounge furniture, soft seating, sturdy library tables and comfortable study carrels should be every school library’s main priority. Office Line can assist you create a learning hub for your school and encourage teachers and students to collaborate, communicate, and share.
Office Line is Attending EduTECH 2018
With over three decades in the industry, Office Line continues to supply quality furniture for schools and offices. Our expertise stems from our deep familiarity with the educational sector, and our ability to tailor our services to adapt to its evolving needs. We strive to learn from our colleagues and fellow furniture suppliers, closely monitoring new developments in educational architecture and design trends.
This June, we will be exhibiting our line of educational furniture at the EduTECH and EduBuild 2018 conference. The annual event will take place on June 7-8 at the International Convention Centre in Sydney. We believe that it will be an excellent opportunity to collaborate with educational specialists, experts, and furniture manufacturers, as well as to exchange ideas and knowledge with them.
What are EduTECH and EduBuild?
EduTECH and EduBuild are separate but related events taking place as one conference. Combined, it will be the largest educational event in APAC, projected to attract over 10,000 attendees. There will be talks delivered by high-profile speakers, comprehensive masterclasses about various educational sector topics, and exhibits by leading furniture specialists across the region.
EduTECH 2018 is the premier educational event in the Southern Hemisphere. Over the years, it has attracted a host of educators, education businesses, and specialists across the Asia Pacific region. The event serves all levels of the educational cycle, including kindergarten, primary school, secondary school, and tertiary education. It will also cover topics such as National VET, Workplace Learning, Special Needs and Inclusion, Libraries, Edu-tech Startups, Educational Furniture and Equipment, Technology, Facilities, and Services.
EduBuild 2018 is the APAC region’s leading trade show for educational facilities, featuring a host of designers, construction specialists, and educational suppliers. The event focuses mainly on building holistic educational facilities and spaces to enhance students’ classroom learning experience. It will feature a series of senior-level congresses, an open exhibition which will feature new educational technology and a collaborative space for the public.
What’s on the Agenda at EduTECH and EduBuild 2018?
EduTECH and EduBuild provides attendees a chance to work together and exchange industry knowledge from their respective fields. There will be a series of free activities and seminars, as well as esteemed keynote speakers delivering congresses and masterclasses.
EduTECH consists of twelve congresses covering such topics as K-12 Schools ICT Management, School Business Management, Higher Education Leaders, and Tertiary Education Leaders IT. The masterclasses will be delivered by leading educational experts and include topics such as integrating digital technology in the classroom, school marketing and branding techniques, the Learning Power approach and integrating collaborative inquiry.
There will also be a free international exhibition open to the public in the middle of the event. There will be free seminars and workshops such as Makers Playground and robotics demonstrations. Attendees can also meet with numerous education and building suppliers.
Finally, there will be a gala dinner where attendees can network with a whole host of leading industry figures. The dinner venue features a magnificent view of Vivid Sydney’s light show.
We at Office Line are proud to be a part of this event, and we hope to see you there at Booth 1014.
Office Line supplies a wide range high-quality educational furniture. We have locations in Sydney and Perth. Contact us today.
- Kendall Broun