February 27, 2013

"Going Back to School on School Design"

I just got back a few days ago from a 1-1/2 day training session at Steelcase HQ in Grand Rapids, MI. It was phenomenal!! I truly learned so much, and met so many great people. It really was fantastic!

So, a lot of what I learned is still semi-confidential... (I sound so, important hehe) so I can't share everything I learned with you. But I've got a couple of tasty tidbits to hold you over until then.

Product Focus | Steelcase Node
What does 'node' mean? Well the 5th definition on merriam-webster.com was:
a : a point at which subsidiary parts originate or center 

This is the whole idea of the node chair. Each student has their own "subsidiary", their own little piece, of the classroom; where they can all come together to create a classroom experience.  

node chair, Steelcase
The node chair is designed to allow everyone to keep their belongings with them, while moving into teams, small groups, or lecture modes throughout the course of one class period. 

Let's face it, education is changing. In fact, classrooms are changing too. Why? Because children are changing.

Our entire education system has evolved so much since the days of the one room school house. You know what hasn't changed?? The furniture!

I mean really! Look at these images below:

historic classroom

modern day classroom
What looks different to you? Not a whole lot. 

Product Focus | Steelcase Verb
So next comes Verb. The system of classroom products (that blend super great with node seating) to create the ultimate flexible classroom.

The unique chevron shape of the tables allows for a curved (versus straight) lecture set-up, a distinct personal zone at the table, and increased sightlines between students.

Verb tables, Steelcase
The other pieces in this system include a very unique instructor station, markerboards, easels, and a wall track for markerboards. All of which pair nicely with many of the other products Steelcase has to offer (including interactive whiteboards).

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "You send your child to the schoolmaster, but 'tis the schoolboys who educate him."

How do we expect our children to learn from each other, when they can't even see each other, or work in groups, because the furniture in their classroom is built for lecture mode?

Steelcase has written up some great articles that include much more information about changing the way our education spaces look and act. Visit their website www.steelcase.com to find out more.

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