LOTH creates innovative, active-learning environments

At Princeton Community Middle School, a new building is breathing  new life into instruction thanks to a dedicated 6-12 research team. Superintendent Dr. Gary Pack’s urging for “classrooms that look and operate differently” resulted in “lots of national research” and a true collaboration with LOTH and Steelcase.
A team member remarked, “We thought we were going to be sold some furniture, instead we were really schooled on the research and design process – the specifics and function and purpose of furniture.”

Challenge:

  • culture: analyze district culture – determine how to reset the culture being created in classroom settings
  • adaptability: the ability to rearrange furniture in the middle of a lesson without major disruption
  • collaborate: make the sharing of information easier between instructors and students and students with other students
  • understand and provide: new ways to engage; student-centered spaces
  • the importance of space: enable lecture mode, group set-ups, individual work – from one class to the next or even during the same class period

Solution:

  • discovery: the 6-12 team traveled to Grand Rapids, MI for a site tour at Steelcase where they were given “an experience, not a sales pitch – teaching us how we could create that much more in our new facility…”
  • experience: more people work in groups than work alone –  “Steelcase was a prime example, we saw their teams collaborating and joined in…”
  • try it out!: provide a pilot classroom using Node tablet chairs

Result:

  • core academic spaces: technology in education is changing teaching methods – this requires transforming the spaces where this process is carried out
  • access: Node chairs provide flexibility and a 360° swivel for open sightlines to instructor, media, or other students in collaboration
  • mobility: ease of moving tables and/or chairs means freedom for multiple activities and multiple purposes from initial classroom footprint
  • collaborative benefits: magnetic, double-sided markerboards, part of the Verb classroom tables, work in a collaborative manner, can be passed around the room or used as dividers for individualized testing (a big component of Ohio’s instructional model)

candid comments:
– “I know it’s just furniture, but it’s not just furniture.”
– “Kids were excited, energized with the Node chairs. They came to class excited – it just worked.”
– “I was inspired by the possibilities of the furniture in any classroom.”
– “It rejuvenated the staff.”
– “The learning environment can make a difference.”

We can pay it back on a bigger scale. A lot of the work we did, a lot of other schools SHOULD be looking at. I was proud to be a part of this.”
Princeton Community Middle School Principal William Sprankles

Princeton is the largest installation of Node chairs in the United States.

Princeton.pdf