Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Computer Labs 2.0

It seems most classroom computer labs have been organized based on the placement of the electrical units and Ethernet drops and/or by having all the screens facing in one direction to make it easier for monitoring computer use. This setup often creates a challenge for anyone working on a computer while trying to pay attention to the instruction going on at the board. During tech workshops, I often see teachers switching back and forth between the whiteboard and computer trying not to fall behind. As we redesign and rethink the classrooms of the future I wonder if we can give the labs a facelift as well.

A short time ago I visited John at Jefferson Middle, in part because I was curious about his new lab setup. His lab looks a bit like a coffee shop with elevated seats and circular tables positioned around the lab with wireless laptops on each table. With a flat screen plasma on the wall, John’s lab has an inviting feel to it. And although I didn’t see it in use with students, I really liked the arrangement. And I’m betting the students prefer it as well.

Now if he’d only add a coffee station in the corner and charge me three bucks for a cup of house blend, I’d be there every day.

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