We recently redesigned the computer labs at AISB to make them “learning spaces” instead of “computing spaces.” You can read the results after the break, but here’s the summary. If you’re still relying on labs to provide computing access for your school, apply the following principles to your next redesign:
- Instead of rows or U shapes, make hubs of 3-4 computers to facilitate collaboration. Leave empty spaces where students with their own devices can work. Orient the hubs so they all have a view of the projector screen.
- Include groups of desks or tables to give classes flexibility in where and how they work.
- Use small whiteboards or flip chart paper to facilitate brainstorming and planning.
- Use carpets and pillow or sofas to create a small meeting space around your projector.
- Make sure some power strips are available for students to charge their own devices.
- If you’re on Google Apps, use Calendar resources to let teachers schedule the space from their own classroom rather than having to use a paper signup chart. Being able to reserve from class or from home facilitates their planning process, since they’re having to design around a shared resource – the easier it is, the more they’ll use it.