3 Ways Mobile Technology Is Transforming Learning Spaces
From the outside, Barrow Elementary School in Athens, GA, looks like any traditional school building built in the 1920s. Inside, it looks completely different. Instead of desks arranged in tidy rows, the classrooms have tables that can be reconfigured in seconds by the students themselves, depending on what an assignment calls for. There are spaces where students can work together in teams, and comfortable chairs for individual study. Nooks tucked off hallways enable teachers and students to gather in small groups, and wireless access points allow them to use portable digital devices anywhere in the building.
According to Philip Lanoue, the superintendent of Clarke County School District, where Barrow is located, “Our goal is that, when you walk into our buildings, you’re inspired to learn.” Barrow Elementary is among a dozen schools in Clarke County — and one of a growing number of schools nationwide — that have been designed or retrofitted to support new ways of learning.
The traditional classroom setup, with rows of desks facing forward, worked just fine when lecturing was the predominant form of instruction. But as more schools have shifted from a teacher-centric to a student-centric approach to learning, the design of K-12 learning spaces is evolving as well.
“New kinds of learning require different approaches to classroom design,” said Leslie Wilson, founder and chief executive officer of the nonprofit One-to-One Institute, which advises schools on how to use technology to transform instruction.