Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mobile-Friendly Classrooms

As we enter our third year of 1:1 implementation at the HS, 3 classrooms began piloting mobile furniture. The desks selected for the pilot are Steelcase's Nodes. After collecting some preliminary anecdotal feedback on these mobile friendly classroom solutions, the results are in.

Steelcase Nodes in Mrs. Taylor's room

Limited Desktop Real-Estate: Multiple students did report that the desktop itself is a little "small for their liking"when trying to display iPad, binder/notebook, and textbook. It is important to note that the iPad itself can be removed from the case and placed in a special inset on the desk to free up space. This innovation makes it a little easier to include a keyboard or multiple pieces of media as necessary.

While the desktop itself may be smaller than its earlier counterpart, the features and nuances of the desk itself make up for the limited desktop real estate.

Groups Collaborate in Mrs. Dupre's class

Ease of Collaboration and Self Regulation: When students shift in to groups and collaborative situations, they reported the desks were much easier to move rather than picking up or dragging a metal desk. One student even noted that he could regulate his learning environment as he could easily scoot up to the front or side to see the board or hear the instruction better without drawing attention or disrupting other students. Another student mentioned that the swivel capability "helps me think." And one more commented, "I have no complaints... think they should go in every classroom."

Groups Collaborate in Mrs. Victor's class

Grouping and Classroom Configurations: Each of the 3 classrooms is set up a little differently. Typically students select their seat and are reorganized throughout the class period. All 3 classrooms have 4 colored desks (e.g. picasso, blue, red, and element). The beauty of having different colors in one setting is the ability to have flexible grouping. One teacher may say, "I need a chair of each color in your group of 4" or "meet with a student in a red chair and then a blue chair to review your essay". At the end of class chairs can be moved back in to an original configuration. Mrs. Victor uses masking tape in vertical angles to make it easier for students to place two chairs in a group before leaving for the day. Mrs. Taylor mentioned that these strips of tape are also useful when strategically placed to assist students in moving into particular spots for quiz and test situations.

Collaborative Groups in Mrs. Victor's Class
Mrs. Dupre found drawings on the board to be helpful for students to duplicate with the chairs (e.g. three horseshoes, a circle, or rows). She even mentioned that the current desks actually take up less space than there former counterparts.
Desk Configurations in Mrs. Dupre's Class

Whatever the configuration or procedure, clearly from the pictures and student reports, these chairs aid in collaboration and self regulation while supporting ease of flexible grouping.

Steelcase Nodes in Mrs. Victor's room

As we progress through this year, we will continue to reflect upon the changes to classroom, pedagogy, and instruction throughout our 1:1 iPad implementation.

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