Jul 9, 2013

Experience Design #1


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The space I am reconstructing is my current classroom at Rodriguez High School. It is a fairly typical classroom: 40 desks, a teacher desk, some cabinets for storage, whiteboards on two sides of the room, and a SmartBoard. Currently, it is set up with the desks in pairs facing the SmartBoard in arc. Each desk has access on three sides of it, and the arc helps funnel kids in and out of the door. It also suggests a flow for how to pick up papers or hand in work. Overall, I think the classroom works good. It would be nice if it was a little bigger, or I had less students

My thinking for restructuring the room has to do with flipping the classroom. I tried to create different spaces inside the classroom that suggested different activities. I put in two large tables for big group projects, in addition to the traditional 2-person desks. I also created a small space with comfy red chairs that students could separate themselves a little bit from the rest of the class. Around my desk I wanted to create a space that was a little more private were I could meet with students one-on-one or in pairs. Along the back wall, I put in a bank of computers that would be accessible to all the students. The last new addition is the standing desk I would use as a presentation area.

I want to flip for at least one of the subjects I am teaching next year. This means I no longer have to have every desk facing the same way as I won't be lecturing. I tried to keep the desks so they had a view of of the SmartBoard, but it is no longer the main focus. I set the tables up in groups of four, except for two large tables of six. I want to be able to create flexible groups.

Next year our school is going to a bring-your-own-device (BOYD) policy. So I think it would be important to think about how computers and iPads will be in the classroom. I found this video helped guide me on the setup of the student desks.

From the third teacher+, I tried to instill a few ideas that I connected with into this new classroom:

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I have a huge windows in the back of the classroom, but the janitor always brings down and closes the blinds. I'm sure this is for security, but I try to open them up as much as possible. I live in California and its beautiful outside all the time. As I was writing this, I thought it might be good to find a way to decorate this windows to allow for the light to come through and have some security. On amazon I found this stained-glass film to go over the window, and I think its just perfect. I ordered some and cannot wait to put it up.

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When thinking about how I would change my classroom, I didn't think the room itself needed any alterations. It is just a big beige box. As I was thinking about putting furniture in, I didn't want anything that was too permanent. The desks can all be moved, and even the dividers by the red chairs are easily taken down. There are a lot of possible arrangement for the furniture and I like to change things up.

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Currently I don't have a sink in my classroom, but I have a microwave, and I am always amazed the students that will come in to use it. Last year, a student that I didn't even have in class came into my room at least 3 times a week to warm up her lunch. She would sometimes come by herself, and other times bring friends, but I was great to have a little chat with students outside of class time. I alway bring in some plants and the lamp on my desk always gets a lot of attention, just because its not the awful fluorescent light.

As far as implementing my 21st century classroom, I think it could be done. Most of it is just furniture. I could trade the science classroom for the 2-seat desks. The big tables would be a harder to find, and I might have to go thrifting for those. I would also have to find some sort of comfy chairs. The school wouldn't be much help because we are on such a tight budget as it is. An interesting tactic might be to use the 3D mockup of the classroom to solicit donations from parents, and it would be great to have them involved with the classroom more. Like anything, this would happen over time as I find the right pieces that fit into my classroom.


  1. Incredibly impressive, Ray! I can see why the Sketchup took so long for you!

  2. Thanks Mary. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

  3. Wow! I would never want to leave the fun! Exceptional!

  4. I really liked how you had a virtual tour of your classroom, it provided me with an opportunity to really "visit" your class. I love that you are creating separate "spaces" within your classroom to provide the various types of learning that will go on for your class. I also really like the sunlight in by making use of the stained glass film, I think that this is a cool idea and the security/maintenance guy may also like it. I think you have taking a very realistic approach to redesigning your classroom and it could be done with great success.

  5. I am currently taking CEP811 and working on my 21st Century Classroom via SketchUp. I stumbled upon your post through my research and wow was I impressed! Your design blew mine, and all others for that matter, completely out of the water. I have posted a link to your post on my blog, I hope that is okay? I found the post entertaining and informative touching all angles of the 21st Century Classroom. Wow! Exceptional!

  6. This is awesome!!! I used it in my paper on how I would like my classroom setup. I cited your work.

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