November 14, 2014

Future Classrooms

The school days where a teacher stands up front and lectures students in straight rows and columns are now a thing of the past.

The future of classrooms are here – and making their way into District 203. Six schools have implemented rooms with prototype furniture in either a classroom or library.

“Really what education is about now is more active experience – a more active customized experience for students and the furniture is one of those things that actually help activate the classroom in a very positive way,” said Design President Craig Siepka.

The idea was brought up and developed through Future Focus meetings that had student, teacher, and community input.

In the new rooms, students have the choice to either sit on a swivel chair, a rocking stool, or a couch pad. They also have desks on wheels so they can easily separate from or combine with other students.

“Students need to move. It’s absolutely imperative that they have some outlet for moving in the classroom day. So if they’re in a hard chair, if they’re in an attached desk then they can’t do that, they are kind of stuck,” said Madison Jr. High School teacher, Catie O’Boyle. “So they will find some outlet for movement which is usually going to be disruptive but in this classroom they don’t need to do any of those things because they can use the outlet. They can rock back and forth they can swivel around so there’s a huge mark in positive behavior.”

The classroom isn’t the only room getting a facelift; the library has been transformed as well, turning it into a learning center.

“One of the major differences is that all the stuff you see is on wheels. So I’ve already had many instances where I didn’t quite like how I laid it out at first it didn’t quite mesh with basic functionality and division of the materials. And so we can just easily just move the carts and rearrange and that flexibility is huge,” said Beebe Elementary teacher-librarian Josh Mika.

The furniture and the new designs have been a huge hit with the students.

“If you’re feeling tired you’re not compelled to want to fall asleep,” said one student.

Another student said, “when we’re taking a test or a quiz you can just move your chair around if you need to get focused more.”

And if that isn’t proof enough, this class of teenagers was asked what they would choose if they could only keep the chairs or a tablet, every student chose the chairs.


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