Innovating the Classroom
Traditional university classrooms with rows of desks and a podium are quickly becoming outdated. Generation Z is demanding innovation and the first place they want it is in the classroom. These incoming students understand that some of the most valuable learning takes place outside the classroom, so why can’t we redesign it and change this perspective?
Rather than large lecture halls, designing multipurpose classrooms with technology in mind is essential for Gen-Z. A main reason for the lack of multi-purpose use in traditional lecture halls is the architecture: tiered, typically immobile seating. Redefining this structure is the first step in innovating the classroom.
BECOMING A MULTI-PURPOSE SPACE
To become a multi-purpose space, the hall must shift from tiered flooring to a coplanar, singular level. While this does not allow for as many students to take one course in person at one time, it will allow for more active learning to take place. According to one study, lecturing increased failure rates by 55% and active learning translated into a 36% drop in failure rates and overall better grades.
Once you start viewing the space as coplanar, you can begin adding modular furniture to help transform the space from lecture hall to collaborative and independent learning spaces. These spaces now become havens for those seeking areas to work after class or to do assignments for online courses.
APPEALING TO GEN-Z
The incoming generation of students grew up on technology and are environmentally conscious. They live and learn differently and campuses are now adjusting. Whether designing spaces ground-up or renovating, it is important to keep both technology and the environment in mind.
Incorporating digital signage and monitors in classroom design eliminates the need for excessive papers and handouts while appealing to Gen-Z.
Something to remember in modular classroom design is that Gen-Z relies on personal technology and with that comes a dependence on power. While charging stations have the best intentions, designing with modular power in mind is more effective. Either using modular furniture with power adapted or designing ports for power within the infrastructure of the classroom in non-traditional locations (i.e. throughout the floor); even a combination of both allows for the ultimate innovative classroom.