Wednesday, January 02, 2008

360 degree classroom

I came across the "360 degree classroom" while looking for designs for flexible learning rooms. This seem to be a term from the UK used to describe high school computer equipped rooms with the same design as MIT's TEAL learning rooms. The UK government had a £3BBuilding Schools for the Future (BSF) program in 2005/2006, but this had some criticism for not being imaginative enough.

BSF Exemplar designs

The BSF project provides a number of example school designs and guides on its web site. There are also details of requirements for the use of architects and the planning process. Unfortunately BSF took the unhelpful approach of recommending documents and then describing what web site they were on, instead of giving an actual link to the document. I have tried to track down some of these, but a better source seems to be Partnerships for Schools. Some of the concepts to be old ones, dressed in with new terms, as an example "
All-through schools", seems to be the old open plan idea, but with some curved partitions.


 Glossopdale Community College IT Lab by Labform showing whiteboardAnother practical design come from UK company Labform, who normally design science laboratories, but also do IT labs for schools. Their design has narrow benches around the walls of the room, and octagonal tables in the center. The photographs show CRT computer monitors being used, which gives the desks a cluttered appearance. One interesting aspect is that the slim tower computers are placed on the desks next to the monitors and act as privacy screens between the students.

 Glossopdale Community College IT Lab by LabformThe wall benches appear to be 600 to 700 mm deep and are a bit cramped with the bulky CRT monitors (these would be fine with slim LCD screen). The octagonal tables appear to be about 1400 mm by 1800 mm, and designed for two computers back to back, with provision for three students at each computer.

 Glossopdale Community College IT Lab by Labform benchesThe front of the room has a wall mounted whiteboard and an overhead projector on a table for the teacher. There appears to be an overly generous amount of floor space between the desks. There are two holes in the top of the octagonal desks for cables and the wall benches have wall mounted power and data sockets.

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