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The old adage about children is true–the future truly is in their hands. And while it’s true that kids today will be the leaders of tomorrow, it is today’s workforce that is responsible for ensuring they learn how to do so, starting in the classroom. It is up to design professionals to make sure educational spaces are conducive to positive learning experiences. So what elements are most important in a learning environment? The innovators at DIRTT have a few suggestions that will help guide architects and designers toward effective design.

 

Flexibility
Just like their parents in modern, collaborative offices, students are looking for open, fluid designs in the classroom. Instead of a static classroom filled with individual desks, designers should look for ways to create breakout spaces. Educators from Edutopia recommend arranging desks and tables to create nooks and designated spaces specified for different areas of study.

Mobility
Whether your child is in kindergarten or their junior year of undergrad, they will no doubt be in a classroom with wheels. Desks, chairs, tables, whiteboards; virtually any piece of classroom furniture can and should have the ability to be moved around in order to adapt to the students’ needs.

DIRTT built a flexible school for children with various learning disabilities and implemented moveable walls in order to adapt and adjust as the teachers saw fit to care for and educate their students. One teacher at that school, Bill Rehfuss, said that the adaptable design improved his mood in addition to his students. “When you give the kids more allowances to get up and use the boards instead of sitting at their desks, they seem more excited about coming in,” he said.

Nature
Countless studies have shown that office employees are more productive when they are near a natural element, whether it’s a plant, a bouquet of flowers or even a breathing wall. Students are no different, regardless of their age. According to recent studies, plants in the classroom improve the grades of middle school students, reduce sick-leave in primary school students, and make students and staff feel more comfortable and satisfied across all ages.
Innovation in school and campus designs weighs heavily on other industries. Like all modern design trends, companies will emulate the design of a different industry standard altogether. What classroom design trends do you think are important in a school?