Thursday, 11 April 2013

Octopus garden report

Jason Hayklan G7

Research Question: What is a 21st Century Classroom?

Classrooms are created to provide an environment for learning. How comfortable and settled we are affects our ability to learn in the classroom. The rooms in Nexus are a little dated and our grade 7, along with the students from grade 8 were tasked with researching and presenting our ideas and designs for the classroom of the 21st century that could revolutionise the way we learn, just like the iPhone has changed the way we communicate.

Research & Analysis
The group that I worked in focused on fixtures and fittings (lights, cables, wires & plugs and fans) as well as peripheral learning support tools (projectors and laptop trays).

The existing fluorescent strip lights on the ceiling look like they come from the 1980s!
While fluorescent bulbs have their advantages, they are filled with gas called ballast. This gas sends out a pulse that causes a high frequency flicker. Some people are known to be sensitive to this flicker; it can cause headaches and eyestrain.
Our choice was to opt for high tech LED lighting, and units that were both powerful and moveable.
The reasons were straightforward: they use less power, have no flicker and are therefore better for our eyes. We also liked the colour and variety that would brighten up the classrooms.

All our classrooms have aircon, this uses a lot of electricity. If we are going to be eco-friendly, we need to use less. And, some parts of the classroom get very cold.
There are more energy efficient aircon units available, however, our team thought that it would be better to install ceiling fans. They circulate the air, they don’t create pockets of cold, they don’t have to be topped up with gas and use a lot less electricity.

Cables & Wires:
We do not have many plug sockets in the classroom and they are located at the walls. This is typical of older classrooms where computers etc. were not used. So, if we need to charge our laptops or plug in a projector, we have to move to the side of the room.

The team decided that a funky option would be to use a range of power extensions. We found some very practical ones as well as some fun ones.
We liked these extensions as you can twist the sockets around a bar, making them directional and you do not get the problem of a large plug covering the socket next to it.

This Wire Pod is a great idea for use around the beanbags or on the carpet. It unravels out and has multiple extensions that unravel like the branches of a tree. 

The projectors we use at the moment are not very good. Some of them are old, their colour is faded and they take a long time to configure. They are also static, meaning they are fixed at one angle and mounted. This means they are not very versatile and the classroom is not as functional as it could be.

We looked at a number of makes and options that are available.
The Dell S300WI is a classroom specific projector. It is an interactive wifi projector and can project onto “virtually any surface”. This means we do not even need a screen. It also comes with an interactive pen that works like a writing and drawing tool, both on and off surfaces.
Another plus point is that it has a long lamp life.

Laptop trays
The design of our classroom has created spaces where we can work in a more relaxed manner, like sitting on beanbags or on the carpet. We realised that this means we have to have our laptops on our laps. Laptops get quite hot and can burn our legs.
Some of us already have laptop trays at home, so why not at school?
We found some reasonable priced trays in Ikea and on eBay.

Conclusion & Recommendations

The No Limits team looked at fixtures and gadgets that we could use practically in our 21st Century classroom. We wanted to find ways to make it easier to learn, create a comfortable learning area that was also bright and cheerful. We also wanted to make an environmentally friendly impact with our classroom.
I hope that all of these ideas can be used to make our classroom experience more enjoyable and more modern than what it is now.



Wires and connectors:



Cables and Wire

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