Innovative Design For The Modern Classroom

You’ve heard of the term Agile when it comes to software development and work in the tech world. Did you know that Agile frameworks can apply to your classroom design, too?

When you change the furniture and set up of your classroom, you can create a more engaging and productive learning experience for your students.

Read on to learn about the benefits of this approach and find some ideas on how you can start implementing it today.

What Is Agile Methodology?

In the world of web development, the Agile methodology is a staple. It’s a project management strategy that’s designed to help workers provide value to their customers in the fastest, most stress-free way possible.

Agile methodology breaks projects up into small, manageable chunks. It encourages collaboration, flexibility, and regular check-ins between team members, both of which allow for easier adjustments and better, faster results.

Modern Classrooms Are Agile Classrooms

In the future, there will be an increase in the number of classrooms that utilize the Agile framework. The following are some examples of how educators are using the Agile methodology to revolutionize the way they teach:

Ownership Mindset

The ownership mindset is a crucial component of an Agile classroom. Rather than passively sitting back and absorbing information while teachers lecture, students are being encouraged to take ownership of their education and play a more active role in acquiring knowledge.

One way that teachers can foster an ownership mindset in their classrooms is by developing and encouraging the 6 Cs:

  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • Citizenship
  • Character

These skills can transfer to all kinds of learning activities (they also work in a variety of professions outside of teaching). They encourage students to become more motivated, take accountability for their work, address challenges in new ways, and become more prepared to enter the workforce someday.

More Movement

It seems fitting that an Agile classroom would be one that encourages more movement, right?

Remember, a key tenet of the Agile framework is flexibility. Agile classrooms create opportunities for flexibility and adjustment as needed.

When Agile classroom design is implemented, students aren’t held to a rigid schedule or forced to stay in one place for extended periods.

Kids on Hokki Wobble Stools by VS America

Instead, teachers are encouraged to make changes depending on how students are learning and adapting. Students are also given opportunities to change up their seating and collaborate with their peers in a variety of ways.

Teachers need to remember that more movement in a classroom creates opportunities for better learning outcomes. Research shows that more movement leads to greater focus, concentration, and performance. 

Fewer Barriers

The modern classroom will contain fewer barriers.

Think about how office spaces have changed over the years. Gone are individual cubicles and a lack of connection to the folks who work right next to you. Now, most offices feature open floor plans and encourage more collaboration between employees.

Classrooms are moving in the same direction. Rather than heavy desks for students that sit in one place all year long, schools are starting to invest in more Agile furniture. They’re focusing on lightweight, moveable desks for schools, as well as ergonomic chairs and multipurpose tables to create more teamwork-focused environments.

Changing up the furniture to breakdown barriers and eliminate obstacles makes it easier for students to connect and work together to solve problems.

These changes also make the classroom a more comfortable and inviting space. When comfort goes up, students have an easier time staying engaged and can better retain information delivered by their teachers and their peers.

Many modern classrooms are also expanding and diversifying their workspaces. For example, teachers are using the walls to help students utilize other Agile practices for problem-solving, such as Gantt Charts and Kanban Boards.

Benefits of Agile Classroom Design

If you’re not already sold on the advantages of a more modern, Agile classroom, there are some additional benefits to keep in mind. Agile classrooms offer the following:

  • Deeper learning
  • Increased critical thinking skills
  • Closer student-teacher relationships
  • Closer peer-to-peer relationships

Agile classrooms also provide more preparation for the future. Many students who are in school right now will go on to work in Agile environments. The better equipped they are to implement Agile principles in the workplace, the more valuable they’ll be to their employers.

How to Upgrade Your Classroom

There are lots of ways that you can upgrade your classroom to make it more modern and Agile. Here are some examples to inspire you:

Establish a Vision and Mission Statement

When making plans for the design, layout, and furnishing of your classroom, start by establishing a vision and mission statement. Your vision and mission statement will help to guide your decisions and ensure every change or upgrade you make will be in your students’ best interests.

Not sure what your classroom’s vision or mission statement should be? Start by thinking about what you want your students to accomplish.

How do you want them to feel when they’re at school? What kind of behaviours do you want to reinforce or avoid?

Make sure you’re communicating your vision and mission statement, whatever they are, from day one. Put them on display for everyone to see and, when you’re making decisions for the classroom design, keep them in mind.

Make Room for Movement

Movement matters when you’re trying to create a more Agile and innovative classroom design.

Don’t fill your classroom with so much stuff that it’s difficult for you and your students to move freely. If you need some inspiration, consider modelling your classroom after open-concept office spaces.

It should be easy for you to get from the front of the room or your desk to your students’ desks or tables, for example. How else are you going to check-in with them and see how they’re doing?

It should also be easy for students to move their desks or move to different stations in the classroom when they need to work together and solve problems as teams. If the room is overly crowded, this will be difficult and frustrating, especially for students who might have mobility limitations.

Invest in Agile, Ergonomic Furniture

Whether you’re shopping for a new type of chair for students, a new desk, or a new table, your classroom furniture must be Agile and ergonomic. Here are some factors to consider when you’re on the lookout for new furniture pieces:

  • Keep furniture lightweight, flexible, and easy to move around
  • Focus on the ergonomics of chairs and desks to ensure students are comfortable
  • Consider unique options like standing desks, stability balls, and soft chairs for reading groups and other activities

Don’t forget about your furniture, too. Make sure your desk and chair are ergonomic and support proper posture. After all, as a teacher, you deserve to be just as comfortable as your students. 

Offer Options

Remember, flexibility is key when it comes to creating a modern classroom that encourages engagement, collaboration, and innovation.

Student at desk

Students, especially young students, shouldn’t be expected to stay in one place for hours at a time during the school day. Instead, teachers should provide them with a variety of options that allow for more movement and variety throughout the day.

There are lots of ways to create variety in the school day while still maintaining a sense of structure and ensuring students are learning and getting their work done. For example, students could be given the option to rotate to different types of seats throughout the day. They can also be given a choice between sitting or standing.

Make Workspaces Adaptable

Another way to offer options and provide flexibility is to make workspaces adaptable. Instead of giving every student their own desk that they’re stuck with all day long, they can be given more adaptable workspaces.

For example, using multipurpose tables makes it easy for students to work together without having to waste time shifting desks around. Adjustable height desks also help students to go from sitting to standing throughout the day without having to move to an entirely new workstation.

Seek Feedback from Students

Finally, don’t forget to seek feedback from students when it comes to classroom design and layout. Remember, the Agile methodology works best when everyone gets to work together and play an active role in getting things done.

To create a more modern, Agile classroom, it’s helpful for students to get to have a say in the way their learning space is structured. For example, teachers can take a vote to find out what kinds of arrangements students like best.

Teachers might also want to work together with students to come up with a new mission statement for the classroom.

This creates a stronger sense of unity and ownership. It also makes it easier for everyone to remember and refer back to the classroom’s mission throughout the year when they’re running into challenges or thinking about making new changes.

Create a More Modern Classroom Today

Are you ready to create a more modern, Agile classroom in 2021? If so, keep the tips for upgrading your classroom design in mind moving forward.

Check out some of our Flexible School Designs, too, for more ideas and inspiration!