8 Ways to Create Flexible and Innovative Spaces for Student Learning

2019-03-04T15:17:36+00:00March 18th, 2019|Product Solutions|

The concept of active learning has revolutionized the way educators can approach teaching, but as learning becomes more active, classrooms need to be able to keep up. As more teachers bring active learning into their classrooms, the traditional classroom model of having students sit in rows of desks has started to become a thing of the past. Instead, many educators are embracing flexible classrooms designs that are not only easy to rearrange as needed, but also give students more control over their learning experience.

If you’re thinking about creating a flexible classroom, there are so many different ways you can go about it. No two flexible learning environments are exactly alike, so go ahead and get creative. Here are eight ideas to help you get started.

A student sits on a Buoy as she works in an individual work station separate from other students.Sitting in one place doesn’t have to mean being idle. With a Buoy at this individual workstation, students are able to move around as they find their focus.

Active Sitting

In recent years, there’s been a lot of discussion around the health risks of spending too much time sitting still in the office, so why shouldn’t we also look for ways to make classrooms healthier places to be? One of the benefits of flexible classrooms is that they allow students to get up and move throughout the day and when classrooms include options for active sitting, that’s even better.

Active sitting encourages people to move around even while they sit in one place. It might not be an ideal option for every student, but it can benefit those who concentrate better when they’re able to fidget a little. Buoy Seating features a curved base that helps encourage good posture and engages a user’s core muscles as they sit.

Three people sit together in a collaborative area that features Campfire Lounge seating, Campfire Ottomans, a Buoy, a Campfire Paper Table, and a Campfire Big Lamp.Being uncomfortable never made anyone more productive. In this collaborative space, lots of residential-style seating creates an inviting atmosphere that helps people learn new information.

Comfortable Lounge Seating

As you look at examples of flexible classrooms, you’ll see a wide range of seating styles, including yoga balls, bean bag chairs, floor cushions, just to name a few. Residential-style sofas are another very popular choice. For many students, seating that reminds them of being at home is exactly what they need to focus. Campfire Big Lounges offer the comfort of residential-style sofas, but they provide more support than the sofa in their living room.

Clipper Screens are used to create a defined space for group collaboration. The space also features Campfire Pouf Seating and Shortcut X Base Chairs.With a variety of seating styles, including Shortcut X Base Chairs and Campfire Poufs, and Clipper Screens to create privacy, students have a comfortable space that helps them work together.  

Add Space Definition

Even in a flexible classroom, there are times when you might need a little space definition. Maybe you’d like to create a designated a zone designated for quiet reading or create separate zones for groups to work together. Mobile screens are an excellent way to create the definition you need without making any lasting changes to the classroom. Clipper Screens can be set up in minutes and when you no longer need them, they can easily be folded up flat for storage.

A flexible learning environment that supports many different preferences, ranging from Buoy Seating to Bivi Desks.This learning environment includes a variety of seating and table options, including a Dual Height Bivi Desk that accommodates those who prefer to work at a traditional desk.

Include Traditional Desks

Flexible classrooms help support modern approaches to education, but that doesn’t necessarily mean completely saying goodbye to some of the more traditional classroom elements. Flexible spaces are supposed to help let students take ownership over their education by creating an experience that works best for them. While some students might be more comfortable sitting on a sofa, others prefer working at more traditional desks. With their modular nature, Bivi Desks can easily be used as individual desks or be combined to create workstations that support group work.

A classroom is full of Shortcut 5-Star Chairs that make it easy for the space to be rearranged to accommodate changing needs.With so many Shortcut 5-Star Chairs, this learning environment would be easy to rearrange at a moment’s notice.

Movable Furniture

Flexible spaces need flexible furniture. When a space needs to be rearranged often, you don’t want to be weighed down with a lot of heavy furniture. Anything with wheels is perfect for flexible classrooms. Shortcut 5-Star Chairs and Shortcut Tripod Base Chairs both have wheels on their bases, making them an ideal choice for flexible spaces. Every classroom needs surfaces to work on and Simple Tables are available with optional casters that can make reorganizing a snap.

Aside from furniture with wheels, there are many other kinds of lightweight furniture that are ideal for flexible environments. Campfire Poufs, for example, are great for small group discussions.

A Bivi Desk is configured to create a workstation that supports integration with technology. Shortcut 5-Star Chairs and a Campfire Footrest are also pictured.With support for a centrally-located monitor, this workstation makes it easy for groups of students to share information.

Incorporate Technology

Technology has completely revolutionized the way teachers approach education. It can be an important tool in creating meaningful shared experiences for students, but in many cases, classrooms don’t have enough access for technology. Bivi Desks can be configured to create technology-driven learning centers that make it easy for students to come together and have a shared learning experience. With the Bivi Team Table option of the Bivi Bundle, creating these learning centers is as easy as 1-2-3!

Two people work together at a Campfire Paper Table as they write on its surface to try to share ideas.The writable surface of Campfire Paper Tables makes it a perfect tool for brainstorming and sharing ideas with others.

Writable Surfaces

As important as technology has become in education, analog tools still have a place in the modern classroom. Being able to physically write things down can be a very effective way to help students retain information, so whiteboards can be extremely helpful to students and teachers alike. As an alternative to wall-mounted or mobile whiteboards, why not consider tables with writable surfaces? Campfire Paper Tables are available with a paper or writable glass top and are excellent for small group collaboration.

A learning area features a standing-height Campfire Big Table as well as a Campfire Paper Table to give students a variety of worksurfaces to choose from.Whether you prefer to sit down and work at a lower table or to spend some time at a standing-height table, this learning environment gives people the options they need to do their best work.

A Variety of Worksurfaces

In many flexible classrooms, you won’t just see a variety of seating styles, you’ll also likely see a range of table heights. While some students will prefer to sit down to work, others might prefer to work at a standing-height table, so including tables at a variety of heights gives students more flexibility to find options that work for them. Campfire Big Tables are available in both seated and standing heights and are perfect for group learning projects, regardless of which height you prefer.

Flexible classrooms offer a lot of opportunities to get creative. For more inspiration, take a look at the complete selection of Turnstone products.