Aug 25 2014

Classroom Cribs Challenge Asks Teachers to Rethink Learning Spaces

Schools redesign spaces to reflect technology’s effect on classrooms.

Could your classroom use a tech-focused makeover?

Today's classrooms are evolving to meet the demands of the new learning paradigms, and some teachers are getting in on the ground floor of this transformation with some creative redesign concepts.

More than 2,000 teachers have signed up to participate in the Classroom Cribs Challenge, which kicked off this month, according to the event's organizers. The challenge urges teachers to rethink how their learning spaces are designed.

The challenge is being overseen by three teachers: Erin Klein, Ben Gilpin and A.J. Juliani. Klein, a second-grade teacher and owner of the ed tech blog Kleinspiration, posted a YouTube video about rethinking learning spaces. Before becoming a teacher, Klein studied interior design, and she's found ways to blend her two passions through the new challenge.

"[It's about] thinking about who this space is designed for, and thinking about how you are integrating technology, how the blended learning environment is going to look," she says.

The instructions for the event are simple:

1. Rethink your learning space with the student in mind. What changes will enhance the learning experience?
2. Redesign your learning space and show us how you did it: Take pictures and video.
3. Create a 3-minute “cribs” video (or slideshow) showing off your new learning space. Include a short rationale for why you made the changes.
4. Submit your video/slideshow, rationale, and bio to have a chance to be featured on our site and win great prizes

Entries for the Classroom Cribs Challenge are being accepted until Sept. 14. Submission highlights will be posted to the event's blog and YouTube channel.

The challenge could serve as a flashpoint for teachers who want to become involved in actively recreating their rooms. Technology has changed the way teachers interact with students, particularly as mobile devices become a fixture in classroom learning.

In 2011, Adlai E. Stevenson High School's 49-year-old library underwent a massive makeover, removing obsolete desktop spaces to make room for the school's one-to-one tablet program. The result was a rebuilt, 24,000-square-foot learning center with six study rooms, equipped with Steelcase media tables, featuring ports that allow up to six students to connect devices and project their work on two screens built into each table. Whiteboards fill eight other rooms. The location has since become one of the most popular spots for students to hang out.

How would you makeover your classroom?


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