“Furniture is a vital component of creating the 21st century teaching and learning environment,” says Jim Brady, author of Flipping for Student Success, a recent article in the School Planning & Management Magazine. In the article, he explains that furniture is often only viewed as a commodity responding to seat time requirements and bid procedures of the business office, thus becoming an afterthought and selected outside of the design process. He suggests that furniture should be a key consideration in implementing a flipped teaching and learning strategy.
A flipped classroom changes the delivery and engagement in the classroom and is not just a change in destination or curriculum offering. It is a shift in framework from a traditional classroom of how and where instruction is presented and where and how it is applied. A flipped classroom is an agile environment that must adapt quickly to changing needs. This learning environment is interactive, personal, collaborative, and learner -focused and needs versatile furniture solutions.
R.J. Webber, an assistant superintendent of the Novi Community School District in Michigan says his schools are having success with flipped classrooms and offers this advice when it comes to furniture.
- Furniture needs to be light enough to be moved by students to form smaller collaborative areas.
- Tabletops need to be wider and capable of being linked together.
- All furniture should have casters to aid in reconfiguring the room.
Brady believes that as an emerging instructional strategy, flipped classrooms are making a positive learning difference. Also, learning environments are not neutral in the learning experience, and furniture is an effective design component used to provide context in the built environment. Read the full article here.
Thinking of flipping your classroom soon? Check out our inspiration page for ideas to get started.