Navigating the Changing Landscape of K–12 Classrooms

School districts are updating their classrooms to match their modern technology.

Our children spend the majority of their time in school, and it’s important that the environment be a welcoming one conducive to learning. Just as corporations have embraced open-office concepts, several K–12 schools are rethinking traditional classrooms.

School districts today use modern technology and teaching methods, so it only makes sense to update their spaces to match. Learning can happen anywhere — on the bus, in the hallway or on the soccer or football fields.

Consider breaking down the conventional walls to accommodate technology throughout the facility. Transform hallways into meeting spaces, use walls and windows for writing spaces and offer varied seating options to give students choice in how they collaborate.

Dream Classroom Tech Designs

For inspiration, take the example of Yorkville Community School District 115 in Illinois. Prompted by overcrowding, the district embarked on a major renovation and expansion of its high school building a few years ago. Small classrooms, tight hallways and a dark library impeded educators’ ability to best take advantage of technology.

Today, the school boasts an inviting environment, complete with a wealth of spaces for collaborating and working creatively throughout the building. Hallways house computer bars with USB charging stations. A giant projector, flat-screen TVs, monitors and Bluetooth speakers ensure everyone can see and hear. And a tiered common area called the Learning Stairs offers a flexible space for individual classes, large group meetings, media presentations and student social gatherings.

“We built all of our common spaces at Yorkville High School to be collaborative. Any space in our hallway, in our fishbowls, in our library, in our Learning Stairs, was all built with an open concept so students could learn anywhere,” says Ryan Adkins, technology director for Yorkville Community School District 115.

To see the impressive renovation at Yorkville High School, watch the video at edtechmag.com/k12/yorkvillevideo.

Then take a look at “Wide-Open Spaces” to learn how that district and others have revitalized their environments to meet students where they are.

dolgachov/Thinkstock
Jan 13 2017

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