Three Benefits of a Flexible Classroom

Mar 21, 2019 11:02:55 AM / by Megan Weatherford

When I was in K-12 classrooms, we had rows of desks. They were facing the front of the class, where the focal point was a chalkboard. If I ever entered a classroom with a different setup, it felt refreshing, even inspiring. That's the idea behind flexible classrooms. Classrooms don't need a designated front, and they certainly don't need a chalkboard. Most modern classrooms have mobile technology making it easy to move the classroom around.       
SMART Board for flexible classroom, AV solutions, audio visual, Charlotte NC

Technology is used as a tool to enhance learning at Providence Day School, especially SMART Boards on mobile stands. It's no problem to incorporate the board into daily lessons because administrators have created flexible classrooms. The benefits of having a class without a fixed front or structured seating have been immeasurable. Director of Digital Integration and Innovation Matt Scully pointed out three specific benefits that have impacted the learning experience at Providence Day the most.       

TEACHERS LOVE FLEXIBLE CLASSROOMS    

 
modern classroom, classroom technology, SMART systems, Smarter Systems Charlotte NCYou can imagine why teachers would be excited about flexibility, but think about the possibility of changing and using the classroom in whatever capacity they needed. Scully says if you ever visit the 6th Grade English Room, you will never see it arranged the same way twice. "It's wild, every time you go in there, it looks different. The big idea was any teacher at any given moment could redesign the room in the spirit of what they needed."    Scully described scenarios in which his classroom would be changed several times in a single class period to create different experiences, but each scenario included a SMART Board on a portable stand. "So I might have 3 or 4 different configurations in one class period, I might want it set up one way on Monday, and another way on Wednesday and then the teacher who comes in after me can set it up however they want," said Scully. Many schools, like Providence Day School, share the classrooms so having the capability to move the room quickly to adapt to the next teachers is crucial.  Scully added, "I would say there are teachers that love it and I would say there are teachers that don't leverage it as much as other teachers do, but it's not like the teachers who move the furniture are better teachers than the ones that don’t. It just means we have the flexibility to meet everyone's needs."      


STUDENTS RESPOND IN FLEXIBLE CLASSROOMS   

 Have you ever been in a classroom where students are engaged and excited to learn? Flexible classrooms encourage that. It allows teachers and students to collaborate on a different level. Scully says "We are learning what's best for kids and what we could be doing in the classroom. A flexible environment gives me the adaptability to respond to the new research and the new stuff that comes out as opposed to having my room set up a certain way." Scully admits students at Providence Day have become accustomed to it. "I think a lot of our students quite honestly take it for granted because they just expect the environment to meet their needs, so they are just moving stuff around." However, he acknowledges that if they've ever done collaborative work in an environment that's not built for it, then they appreciate the flexibility more.        

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FLEXIBLE CLASSROOMS HELP LONG TERM PLANNING      

SMART Boards on mobile stands make sense for day-to-day use, but Scully says the no brainer is when it comes to long term planning. "The classroom is a 6th Grade English room this year, but because of our needs, it may be an 8th-grade math room next year. How do I make sure I'm not spending money every couple years moving the board or re-hanging the projector, or taking cable runs off the wall? This is just a beautiful solution in that the rooms aren't necessarily a particular room; they are whatever you need them to be."  He says from a budget perspective it's the best thing you can do for your classrooms.       

Topics: Education, SMART Board, Classroom technology, Projects

Written by Megan Weatherford