Education is one of the fastest-changing industries in today’s climate, with educators and students needing to shift and adapt quickly to new circumstances. When redesigning an educational space, these shifts should be placed front-of-mind in order to ensure a functional, long-lasting space for both students and educators. Today, we discuss three design trends that are crucial to take into account when designing any educational space in order to ensure uninterrupted and quality learning for current and future students.
As we begin 2022, safety in learning facilities is a top concern for both students and staff. Occupants’ health and safety must be taken into consideration when designing functional school spaces. Where possible, spaces should be designed to allow a greater space between students and their instructors; if necessary, maximum occupancy of spaces should be reduced in order to prevent crowding and ensure distancing is possible.
Seating arrangements in classrooms, labs, and lecture halls should also be conscious of safety needs. Student seating should face one direction, with adequate space between seats. Where seating arrangements are permanent, ensure there is space being left between individuals. To prevent confusion, seats could be colour-coded to show what seats are available based on the number of students, type of lesson, and work requirements in a class.
In order to allow staff and students to safely navigate from location to location, provide visual cues such as directional arrows or signage to streamline traffic flow.
Furniture should be easy to clean and maintain. High-use furnishings such as desks and chairs should be easily cleaned and sanitized between groups of students. Harkel Office can help source specialty furnishings with performance fabric, durable materials, and infection-resistant designs in order to facilitate the sanitization process. For more information in selecting furniture for high-use settings, check out this blog.
2. Modular/Flexible Spaces
Safety concerns are not the only area that is rapidly evolving within the education sector. Quickly advancing technology is changing the face of teaching and learning at a rapid pace, and educational designs should be planned with this in mind. Due to this rapidly changing landscape—and the high likelihood that advances will continue in the coming years—it is important to plan flexible spaces that can easily adapt to suit both educators’ and students’ needs. Flexibility is the way of the future.
The inclusion of flexible, modular seating solutions can allow educators to quickly transform their classrooms to suit a variety of lessons. Not only does this accommodate for different lesson styles, but also takes into consideration that all students are different, with different learning styles. A modular room recognizes that lecture-style teaching may not be suitable for all students, and supports different styles of learning and teaching to accommodate all.
Modular furniture can allow an educator to reorganize a room quickly, creating spaces for one-on-one learning, group work and discussions, and independent study. The creation of different “zones” within a classroom can be accomplished easily, allowing students to engage in different types of activities.
Harkel Office knows the importance of modular furniture in today’s educational landscape, and can help find an option that suits both teachers’ and students’ needs in the classroom. From easily modified and stored desking solutions, to flexible lounge and seating areas, Harkel Office will be able to help you determine the solution that best suits your classroom needs.
3. Technology Integration
Technology continues to play an ever-increasing role in education. Not only are many students studying remotely, but wireless learning including the use of smartphones, tablets, and laptops in education has become more common. It is important that any education design plan not only takes into account the evolving role of technology, but also creates plans with its current and future applications at the forefront.
Educational facilities should prioritize the inclusion of both visual and interactive learning space for students. This could include the use of smart boards, touch screens, or green screens in classrooms to provide engaging experiences to students and provide expanded teaching resources to educators. Further, classroom set-ups that facilitate remote meeting and learning will help make education accessible to all. Integrating technology into classrooms will help keep your facility current, desirable, and accessible for both present and future students.
In order to facilitate learning technology, classrooms must also be upgraded with the infrastructure to support heavy device use. This includes ensuring adequate electrical outlets are provided for students and teachers to keep devices charged. Harkel Office can assist you in choosing classroom furniture that can provide students with access to outlets, keeping them connected throughout the day.
Other considerations include designing to allow seamless cable management, as well as secure storage spaces where classroom technology can be kept when not in use. However large or small your plan to integrate technology into the classroom may be, Harkel Office can help you get it right with furniture solutions that suit your needs.
While these three suggestions can help you to begin upgrading your educational space for the future, it is important to be intentional in all design choices in order to create a functional space for years to come. All aspects of your design should serve a purpose, and maximize the space for all use types and circumstances. Consider airflow, acoustics, lighting, and energy efficiency to offset long-term costs and benefit students and the environment for years to come. Education is rapidly changing—don’t let these changes leave you behind.
Harkel Office is a leader in forward-thinking design, and is working to bring workspaces of all kinds into the future. When you work with Harkel Office, our team of experts can help plan, source, and execute a design that suits your needs. Contact Harkel Office today and Get It Right.