A World Wide Movement to Create A Better Classroom Design
Classroom Design on the International Stage
The US has been building schools in the same way with the same classroom design for years and years. It’s time to take the findings of world renowned researchers and standardize them for new US schools. While individual locations can obviously be tailored for space constraints and local demands, the overall school should take a new standard.
Our understanding of what makes a successful school continues to evolve and change. The methods of the past will not work as well as new instruction and building methods. For this reason, experts from 10 different countries gathered to worked together with the OECD Centre for Effective Learning Environments Board of Participants at the beginning of 2011. The team focused on creating building designs among other innovations .
For example, an innovative set of ideas came from Belgium. The Flemish community houses students in modular pre-fab buildings made of wood and steel. The buildings and classrooms can be altered to accommodate the changing needs for students and teachers. These are also much less expensive to produce since the construction materials are standard, allowing the country to build many new schools quickly for a relatively low cost.
Rural Australian schools have become a world leader in implementing innovative standardized designs that are in line with the needs of the community. The schools have a flexible and functional classroom design that promotes student-centred learning.
These schools promote positive health and well-being through social interactions. The buildings are high-quality and durable, yet adaptable for changing circumstances. The schools use environmentally sustainable materials and building concepts. Lastly, the schools promote safety and security for the entire community.
Our friends to the North in Canada have participated in the new global school standardization movement. Educators in Alberta have created a number of innovations which have propelled the school system. In particular, one school building design was copied throughout the province. The school’s layout branched out like an accordion from the the center. The design is modular and parts of the building are even portable. By configuring the layout in this manner, it supports community interaction, active learning, and socialization.
Lastly, experts in Ireland created a standard system for constructing new buildings that literally included the school’s surrounding community. Once the decision to build a school has been made, the developed system begins with pro-active planning with local authorities. Next, the school will ask the community how the facility can be used to for their needs and the children's. After feedback, the system publishes development plans for further review. Then, they use a set of Generic Repeat Designs (GRD) to build the school as fast as possible with the pre-set plans. Already over 25 GRD schools have been created.
Now that we are well into the 21st century, it only makes sense to use innovative new school standards rather than relying on past construction. The OECD team has created wonderful new models to follow. With brilliant experts developing new school and classroom designs, students will be well equipped to succeed in their educational pursuits.