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Sir Ken Robinson Speaks at the National FutureSchools Conference 2018

Office Line recently attended the 2018 National Future Schools Conference and Exhibition held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from March 20 to 22. The annual event aims to discuss the future of education in Australia by gathering industry leaders and agents of change. 

Sir Ken Robinson: A Leader in Global Education Reforms

Amongst the esteemed roster of guests and speakers was Sir Ken Robinson, a renowned figure in educational reform. His ideas on creative and cultural education have made him one of the most sought-after speakers in TEDx conferences. His 2006 talk, 'Do Schools Kill Creativity' has garnered over 40 million views on YouTube.

His views came from being a professor of arts education at the University of Warwick in the UK for 12 years. Now, Robinson is a professor emeritus at the university. Politicians in Northern Ireland have adopted Robinson’s ideas documented in his book, Unlocking Creativity. Robinson has also worked with several governments, education systems and businesses all over the world.

Notable Publications on Education

His book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything (2009), is a New York Times best seller and has been translated into 23 languages. An accompaniment to The Element was published in 2013, titled Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life, and became an acclaimed New York Times best seller.

Robinson's 2015 book, Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That's Transforming Education, discusses the world's troubled educational systems and the significance of rethinking approaches to education.

Robinson's most recent publication, You, Your Child, and School (2018), tackles the challenges, rewards and gratifying experiences of parents who are deeply concerned about their children's education. The book debunks the myths and controversies surrounding educational concerns and aims to inspire parents, educators and policy makers to reevaluate the purpose of education.

Sir Ken Robinson held a live question and answer forum on the first day of the National Future Schools Conference. He met with attendees at a book signing event after his talk.

Office Line's Classroom Chairs Exhibit

Apart from a series of talks from various guest speakers, industry leaders were also present at the conference and displayed technological advancements in education.

Office Line participated as an exhibitor and presented a line of ergonomic classroom chairs and tables for schools in Australia. Amongst the products displayed was the EN classic, a classroom chair with an ergonomic shell support that provides lower back support and posture. The EN One was also on display and offered a streamlined design similar to the EN Classic.  Office Line was excited to showcase the new, award-winning EN One Floor chair which has gained a great deal of interest for its innovative design concept.

The EN One range of chairs boast exceptional space-saving, stackable features. They are manufactured from completely recyclable materials, providing the education sector with eco-friendly options for their choice of furniture.

Since 1988, Office Line has been a trusted source of high-quality classroom and office furniture in Western Australia. We source our wide selection of products from brands that offer modern and innovative designs and ergonomics.

Feel free to contact our office for more information or explore the range of educational furniture in our catalogue. Call us on 1800 333 116 or drop us a line at info@officeline.com.au

How to Improve Student Learning with Active Classroom Design

Every educational institution wants to improve educational outcomes in and out of the classroom. The way to achieve this remains an object of continuing debate and research. According to academic studies, a student’s academic success is influenced by many factors, including socioeconomic background, personal motivation and influence of different teaching styles. Together, these factors impact a student’s ability to achieve academic success.

There is, however, another factor that schools need to look at — classroom design. After all, students spend most of their time inside the classroom. And it’s no longer a question of if the class environment affects learning but how and how much it affects the learning outcomes of students.

The traditional layout — a teacher’s desk in front of rows of student chairs and desks made from natural wood — is a teacher-centred classroom furniture arrangement. Students take a more passive role, sitting still during lessons. The environment doesn’t allow them to be very collaborative or interactive with each other.

Also, the traditional classroom layout doesn’t consider the fact that students learn in different ways. For instance, some students with ADD and ADHD participate better if they are given choices with how they want to complete a class activity. Group strategies and paired learning are often more effective for them. But the traditional classroom environment makes it difficult for teachers to switch things up when they feel they need to.

So today, we’ll discuss the environmental features that can improve learning and engagement in the classroom. Let’s tackle the ideal classroom design and environment for today’s generation of students:



Classroom Design

Again, one of the factors that is underemphasised or often overlooked is the impact of classroom design. Studies have shown that factors in a classroom setting can affect attention, retention, motivation and academic achievement. Active engagement in the classroom is recognised as a probable predictor of a student’s academic achievement. Based on studies by universities, classrooms that are strategically designed to support active learning increased student engagement compared to classrooms with traditional layouts. So, what can you do to make your classroom design more conducive to active learning? Here are a few simple ways to achieve a more collaborative, active classroom:

  • Stay flexible. Make sure that teachers can easily re-arrange the classroom layout to support the students’ learning goal for the day. Replace wooden desks and chairs with modern and moveable classroom furniture, such as stackable chairs and sit-stand desks. Anything that gets students out of their seats and lets them move around with their classmates promotes an active classroom.
  • Increase interactivity. With the traditional classroom set-up, only a few students at the front actively participate in the lessons. Many students are passive listeners or completely disengaged. Get rid of the rows and choose roundtable or horseshoe or semi-circle set-up, instead. Make the layout easier for students to chip in and be more interactive with the teacher and with each other.
  • Give students a choice. Create zones where students can choose to stay alone or with a partner or groupmates and complete an activity. Some students thrive when they’re left alone, while others perform better when they’re working with others — the important thing is, you give them a choice.

Classroom Environment

Classroom design is critical for effective learning. To develop a successful classroom design, you must find the balance between learning styles and teaching methods. For example, if the teaching method employs collaborative thinking, students must be placed in group assignments that encourage teamwork and cooperation.

Classrooms should be designed such that they provide the spaces needed for students to separate into groups and communicate with one another. A classroom design conducive for collaboration not only stimulates students to engage, but also participate.

And again, choice plays a key role in creating a successful classroom environment. Besides giving them a choice on how they want to learn and participate in class, let them decide on their learning environment, as well. Ask them about which classroom layout, paint colour and decors best suit their class. Consider a school project on classroom design at the start of the school year and see how your students respond.

Classroom Acoustics

A classroom’s sound levels, temperature and lighting are also critical to a classroom’s overall design. To find a suitable sound level in your classroom, background noise must be minimised. You can also adjust sound levels by adding notice boards, baffle boards or soft furniture.

Temperature Levels

Temperature affects a student’s level of focus and concentration. An ideal classroom temperature and a sufficient supply of fresh air help keeps students alert, whereas poor temperature levels may lead to irritation, drowsiness and loss of concentration. To achieve optimal attentiveness, students must be comfortable with the room temperature at all times. In rooms without local control of the thermostat, space heaters, air-conditioning units or fans can help regulate the temperature.

If there’s an air quality issue in the classroom, consider decorating the space with plants. Indoor plants improve air quality and brighten up the room.

Classroom Lighting

There is no alternative to natural light when it comes to ideal lighting. However, if sunlight is limited, make sure that there’s sufficient artificial light. Proper lighting allows for better concentration and prevents eye strain. When choosing suitable lighting, consider the changes and variations needed to create different learning experiences. For instance, in a science classroom, incandescent or adjustable lighting for a dim environment may be required for some experiments. Also, students with sensory issues may find the buzzing or flickering of fluorescent lights distracting. You can use lamps with natural light bulbs, instead. 

Classroom Furniture

Consider finding furniture that will not only provide comfort, but also provide an enhanced learning experience. Collaborative furniture that can easily be re-arranged and connected with each other motivates engagement, communication and collaboration. And flexible seating options, such as bean bag chairs, standing desks, individual workstations and sofas and couches, can give students a feeling of ownership.

Officeline provides modern and functional classroom chairs in Australia. We offer the Eduflex™ Collaborative Trapeziodal Table designed to facilitate and support group collaboration. We also carry the Eduflex™ Quadrum Pod that is designed for educational areas where students can interact and relax.

Our chairs are available as one-piece units or with a range of base options that are built to provide maximum comfort and enhance the overall learning experience. For more information on our supplies of classroom furniture, call 1800 333 116.

Flexible and Dynamic Fitout Transforms New Student Space

Office Line was selected to create and style a new learning space at St John Bosco Catholic Primary School, located in Piara Waters, Western Australia.

Read the full Case Study here

Your 5-Step Checklist When Purchasing School Furniture. Does Your Furniture Comply?

When it comes to purchasing furniture for your classroom, your primary concerns are probably appearance and cost.  Given many schools are faced with tight budgets, focusing solely on price can end up costing you more in the long run.  For example, considering the ergonomics of your next piece of furniture can dramatically decrease stress and fatigue, ensuring enhanced comfort and increased productivity for your students.

The following five considerations can help you make the best decision when making your next purchase.

1. Product Durability

An important factor to consider when placing your next classroom order is the durability of the product.  You can save time and money by asking these simple questions:

  1. Will it be easy to clean? Keep in mind students may drop or spill items on chairs and tables.  Is plastic a better option over fabric given the age-group of your classroom?
  2. Is the product durable? You don’t want to be replacing furniture more than necessary.
  3. Does the product come with a warranty, and if so, how long is the warranty?

2. Emission-free

Unfortunately, some inexpensive furniture options could be causing your students more harm than good.  Some Laminex products contain and emit small traces of formaldehyde, meaning your kids are potentially breathing in harmful toxins.

Office Line provides furniture options that have been tested against any toxic emissions, ensuring your students are breathing in air that is clean and safe.

3. Product Stability

School room furniture is renowned to take a beating from time to time.  Choosing a chair or desk that meets the AFRDI certification ensures extensive weight-bearing and high-use testing has been carried out.  Should your students place excessive weight on one chair leg (as they often do), buying correctly tested products will ensure the chair doesn’t collapse.

4. Comfort and Ergonomics

The most attractive school desk or chair is not necessarily always the best choice.  Considering the average student spends on average 4.5 hours per day seated, the support capabilities of a chair will ensure enhanced comfort and productivity. 

 We need to protect student’s growing spines, so by choosing a design sufficient support you can reduce any unnecessary strain.

AFRDI5. Safety First

AS/NZS 4610 is the Australian standard for furniture specific to schools and covers strength, durability and safety. The AFRDI (Australasian Furnishing Research & Development Institute) blue tick ensures furniture meets the highest quality testing standards to ensure they are ergonomically sound, tough, durable and safe.

Other international standards that apply to educational furniture include the European Standard certification under EN1729 Parts 1 and 2.  This certification also ensures furniture supplied to educational institutions is ergonomic, stable, durable and safe.

Keep in mind these certifications when placing your next order.

Office Line supplies an extensive range of quality, durable products that meet the above requirements.  Take a look at our extensive range here or contact us to speak with someone who can assist with any queries you may have.