Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Opportunity Presented by a Bare Room

Walked into my classroom for the first time today and got quite a shock: nothing was there.


The crew is stripping and re-waxing the floors, so they cleaned out the rooms. Now, I knew they did this sort of thing in many of the regular classrooms where there are just desks and chairs, but my room is a little bit different. Basically it's a huge TV studio full of electronics, a row of Macs, a green screen, pro lighting, a sofa, and all my junk. So, it was a little weird to see it bare.

But it started giving both me and the teacher I share the space with many ideas about how to refurnish.

Plan is to go in tomorrow and build the room anew based on our best idea of what a paperless classroom should look like and what a paperless classroom should feel like. First thing we are doing is marking up the floor in a series of taped arcs that will work to guide students for seating arrangements which will be modular and change according to the style and purpose of the lesson. Second thing will be to hang up my second projection screen and make it permanent (that's the screen I've had on a stand that I run our live Twitter feed on).

I'd love to hear ideas from the TeachPaperless community. If you had a big empty room, (and I mean big... like twice the size of a standard high school classroom), how would you furnish it? I've got two LCD projectors, six iMacs, an audio control room, directional lighting, and a few rolls of duct tape.

Let's hear what the 21st century classroom should look like.


  1. Sounds like a modern day take on Steven Levy's "Starting from Scratch." Recently, an architect addressed #edustat and talked about the need to create spaces that serve the functions of "campfires, water holes, and caves" in our schools. This is interesting to me.

  2. I think there needs to be a space to collaborate. I'm not talking about tables pushed together to make a larger space for more people. It needs to be a space that will allow students to do many things. I think there needs to be a space for refection, connections. There needs to be a resource gathering "station" for lack of a better term. There needs to be a "display" station too. We all like to be able to show what we have created. Kind of vague, sorry. Great question.

  3. PLEASE TAKE PICTURES! before and after!

  4. Wheels. Or tennis balls on the feet of furniture. Make things easy to move and be nice to the enginneers who spent the summer waxing.

    Display area. Disagree. What do you have to display? Paperless. Unless you add another projection screen that is just a slideshow of student work.

    I'd create a blogger's cafe in one corner for reflection. Fun names for things are always nice.

    Pictures would be awesome. Before and after. Agreed.


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