More than 50% of students report zoning out in the classroom. This could be because of being tired, bored, confused, or something else. Whatever it is because of, this drastically impacts student learning and engagement in the classroom.
You can't necessarily help if your students are tired, but you can for sure help them with their boredom and confusion. So what can you do about it as a teacher? What steps can you take?
Upgrading your classroom design can significantly improve your student's success in the classroom. Whether you add technology, change up the colors, add in more modern seating or relaxation spaces, use more natural greenery or bring in the fresh air, or create more space for collaboration, your students will respond to the classroom shift. You will see an improvement in focus, concentration, and student outcomes.
Are you ready to give a new classroom design a shot? Keep reading for some classroom design ideas to improve your classroom and improve student learning as well!
One way that you can upgrade your classroom design is by adding in interactive learning tools. There are ways that students can directly engage with content like through a smartboard or touch screen.
Using interactive learning tools means that students can change up the way they are learning other than just solving simple problems on paper or writing an essay on paper.
Nowadays, there are tons of online learning tools that students can use to further emphasize what they are learning in the classroom.
For primary and secondary school, Actively Learn is a great online learning tool to help further student's reading abilities and reading comprehension. Zearn is another great tool for math activities.
In addition to these tools, there are also other technological tools that can help foster learning in the classroom.
Nearpod is one of these tools. You can have every student in the classroom log into Nearpod to view your presentation, but in an interactive way. Students can answer questions on a "collaboration board", respond to polls, as well as other interactive games on the platform.
Whether you choose to use the online learning tools in the classroom or outside of the classroom (as homework or for an online class), you'll notice a difference in the engagement of your students.
As a teacher or professor, there have probably been times where you wish you could have one group of people doing one thing and the other doing something else without having too many distractions. But the odds are that each group is distracted by the conversations of the other group.
To prevent this, you could use room dividers. One of the best parts about using room dividers is that you can choose to use them strategically! For these ones specifically, you could use them for group work to use as a collaboration board, or you could solely use them as a wall partition to separate groups.
They could also be used as moving boards to make collaboration easier in the classroom. Instead of having to separate a section of the whiteboard to each group, they could have their very own whiteboard in front of them that also acts as a divider from other groups.
Modern classrooms are making changes to be more collaborative in nature. That means instead of facing all of the chairs to the front of the classroom to look toward the teacher, there are spaces that have circular tables and chairs around it, chairs in the back around a separate table, or 4-person tables with chairs around them.
By changing up how your chairs are laid out in the classroom, there is more space for collaboration.
With a table of four, there can easily be group discussions without too much movement around the classroom. Having circular tables with chairs around them allows for more seminars and class discussion spaces. This works especially well for classrooms that utilize debates and conversations as a way of learning.
As part of these collaborative spaces, you could also incorporate more comfortable areas that promotes well-being in the classroom. For instance, you could add bean bags and a carpet for a "chill" corner where students can go to relax and create. These type of quiet spaces are beneficial for students when they need time to take a few breaths.
You could also create an area with chairs and a couch to promote conversation and collaboration with a hint of more relaxation to it. Since this is how many workplaces operate these days, preparing students for what is to come is crucial.
One beneficial way to improve your classroom design is to incorporate video recording into each lesson. That way, students can return to your video that is posted online to rewatch the lesson if there is any confusion.
Video recording could also be used as a way to walk students through their homework or classwork if you are planning to be absent on a day. Instead of having a substitute come in that may not know the exact material, your video recording can help students stay on track with their learning.
If students are absent, you can also point them to the exact parts of the video that are crucial for them to watch to not fall behind.
Making sure to have a place that shows off the work of your students does more than just using up space in the classroom.
Showing student work invites other students to learn from their peers, promotes collaboration, and sparks reflection. It also illustrates that you care about your student's success and want to see their work shown off. When putting work in this area, you should make sure to have a description of the assignment and write the student's name on their work so that others can see it without getting really close to the bulletin board.
There are many creative ways to showcase student work in the classroom. If you need any ideas to spruce up your space, here are some fun ideas to use.
If part of your classroom design is on an online platform because it is an online course, you can also create a space to showcase work online. You can create a separate tab to provide examples of excellent student work. Not only will this make students feel good, but others will be able to learn from the exemplars provided by their peers.
When in class, you can refer to the exemplar or show the exemplar on the projector glass board you have in the classroom.
It may seem simple, but using colors strategically can drastically upgrade your classroom design. It's not just adding a physical design to your classroom. The colors you use have a specific effect on our brains.
For instance, red and oranges are more energizing colors. These colors would be best used in a space for creativity or focus.
Greens and blues are more calming colors, which are great to use in a "chill" corner or a classroom where you want the vibe to be more about being calm and collected than energized. If you have a reading nook, you could add blue beanbags and green pillow to promote the vibe.
It may be surprising to some of you reading this article, but some people still have chalkboards in their classroom. Whether that is because no one has gotten around to upgrading it or you prefer chalkboards over whiteboards, there are more technologically advanced boards that will allow for more learning.
You could consider using a glass whiteboard. Sounds different, right? Not only is it different from your more traditional classroom decor, but it is also beneficial for the classroom.
When presenting onto the glass whiteboard, the presentation will look crisp and will not suffer from a glare that the shine of the whiteboard can sometimes create. You can also customize these boards to be exactly what you want – from the color to the size of the board!
Want a purple whiteboard? A green one? No problem!
The use of a glass whiteboard also makes the space look more elegant and clean. Having a space that is organized and clean actually promotes a better work ethic.
There is less time wasted on in productivity and more focus since there are no distracting things (like old whiteboard marker marks that were not fully erased). Students will also be able to work more collaboratively on projects with a glass whiteboard.
Instead of justing using a whiteboard or a glass board for teaching, you can also use a projector! If you want your students to be able to see what you are doing on your own sheet of paper (which could be their worksheet pre-printed), you just need to place it under the projector. From there, you can draw and write on it and it will show right on the screen.
Newer projectors also double as the computer hook-ups to project your screen off of your computer.
Although similar to using a whiteboard, it has a few perks:
• It can be zoomed in so it is easier for students to see, especially at the back of the classroom
• The problems or questions are already written on the paper for everyone to see (saves time instead of having to rewrite the problem or question)
• You can move it around to focus on the part you are working on so there are no distracting parts
Using a glass board to project onto is a great idea since it will give the most crisp image.
Many classrooms today don't need a teacher desk. Why?
Because more and more teaches are realizing that there is no point in sitting down while teaching. It is actually a disservice to the kids when teachers sit down while teaching. Instead of hitting students' desks to see how everyone is doing with their work, checking in with them, and seeing any data trends that could be helpful to closing student gaps, they don't know anything about the work.
You may then be thinking but what about when there are no students in the classroom?
That's what you have to ask yourself about what is most important to you in your classroom.
Would you rather a spot for your desk where you can work and grade when students aren't in the classroom? Or would you rather a chill reading space where students can lounge on beanbags and read a book of their choosing? Or if you're in secondary school or college, this could be a lounge corner to work on projects on your computer or with a group.
By reducing your teacher footprint, there is more space in the classroom to design it how you want. Your kids will also naturally get more of your attention as you move around the classroom more often since you don't have a desk to sit at.
Since it is known that green spaces help humans with their stress, benefits their mental health, and improves concentration, incorporating natural elements into the classroom can also help students. It is also proven that natural spaces help workplace productivity, so that could also be transferred to students in a classroom.
Use Natural Light as Much as Possible
When teaching, try to use mostly natural light in the classroom. You can balance out the darker areas with the light from the ceiling of the classroom, but if it is on a dimming switch this could be beneficial to keep the light as natural as possible.
Natural light gives off more Vitamin D which can also improve student's happiness levels. The happier they are, the more work they will get done and more focus you will have in the classroom.
If possible, consider having a class outside.
Another way to add nature into the classroom is by adding plants. Indoor plants have been linked to improved concentration in the classroom.
Indoor plants could also benefit your classroom design because it reduces mental fatigue and stress.
In other words, adding more plants will make your classroom environment a happier place that students want to be in!
Improve Air Quality
Improving air quality will also help students focus more in the classroom. You could consider adding an air purifier or teaching with the windows open for fresh air if it is nice outside.
To improve your classroom design even more than just adding in video recordings that you want to post, you can also incorporate more video technology into the classroom.
Incorporating video technology allows your classroom to go beyond the four walls. There are multiple ways you could incorporate this into your classroom design:
• Add in guest lectures through video technology to expand where students are getting their knowledge from (ex: if you are a history class, ask a historian to come speak about a specific topic as a guest lecturer)
• Take a video tour of areas around the world
• Log into virtual speaker conferences
Here are a few places you can virtually tour:
• British Museum in London
• Musée d’Orsay in Paris
• Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam
• Bronx Zoo in New York
• Petra in Jordan
• Yosemite National Park in California
• Machu Picchu in Peru
• Walking tour of Japan
• Visit Petra, Jordan
Whether you use this to further their education in certain areas of the syllabus or use it as general knowledge or a filler if there is a short day or end of a unit, video technology can take you away from the classroom for a little bit. You'll be giving your students "real life" experience and information to promote engagement in the classroom.
Gone are the days of simply using paper and pencil (or pen) in the classroom. Many schools (and most universities) are making the switch to providing Chromebooks, tablets, or computers to students to make it more technologically-friendly.
Not only will you have less physical papers to grade or pass out, but you will also have everything organized in one place online.
With the use of computers or tablets, students can have their own email addresses created. If there are any questions on the weekends or while they are doing their homework (or if they are absent), they can reach out over email to clarify their question.
If every student has access to a computer, teachers can create an "online classroom" where they post announcements and work online. This way, there is no way for students to miss work or miss an important announcement for the class. If homework is on the computer too, there is no way that students can lose their assignments since it is all in one place.
Kids on average spend at least 4 hours per day on their computer screens or watching TV. They're spending time doing something they enjoy when they are on their computers.
By bringing computers or tablets into your classroom, students will enjoy learning more since it is on a device that they are comfortable and enjoy using. Students can also collaborate without moving around the classroom, whether you have them implement video conferencing on their own time or have them working on a presentation together on multiple computers.
If students are using computers in class, they don't have to pause on research or stop a project because they are confused or don't have access to more information until they go to the library.
Instead, students can research or look up what they need to know right in the moment. This access to online resources can make completing projects easier in a shorter period of time. It can also benefit students when they are confused with words or terminology they haven't seen before.
Upgrading your classroom design doesn't just mean changing out the bulletin board paper or the motivational signage that you use on your walls. It also means adding in more tech-savvy products like glass smartboards or computers and tablets, creating spaces that students want to be in, and making it all organized and clean to promote productivity.
You can upgrade with greener solutions like adding plants and using natural light. And you can choose to use a color palette that promotes learning and creativity.
By following these tips and looking at our products, you will have one of the best classroom designs around. Your students will thank you for it.
Ready to make a change to better your classroom design? Contact us to help you get building a better classroom today! Everything we make is completely customizable to give you exactly what you want and need in your classroom!