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The most common school and classroom renovations aimed to provide opportunities for flexibility and collaboration include adding chalk or whiteboard walls, collaborative work spaces and flexible furniture. This research compares teachers views on these modifications, between schools with completed renovation projects and those in need of renovation where the teachers have yet to experience any modifications for flexibility and collaboration within their classroom.

Modifications in Construction or Renovation Projects

Desired Modifications for Flexibility and Collaboration by School Size

The most desired modifications were generally similar across school sizes, although teachers from very large schools were less likely to desire the addition of flexible furniture (52% compared with 63% overall), and soft seating (45% compared with 55% overall). Teachers from very large schools may worry that these kind of orientation changes are difficult to implement in a potentially crowded school and, given the choice, prefer technological modifications to the overall school building.

Desired Modifications for Flexibility and Collaboration by School Type

The addition of flexible furniture and soft seating were less often selected by senior high school educators compared to middle/junior high or elementary school educators. Since many senior high schools are also very large schools, there may be an overlap of results. On the use of flexible furniture: Dave Jenkins, Director of Operations at EHOVE Career Center16 had this to say: “In my area, teachers in Middle and Elementary schools tend to be younger/newer teachers. That fact may lend itself to teachers wanting to try new methods and be open to facilitating the education rather than directly leading it. During a recent construction project I managed, it took some time for my “seasoned” teachers (who teach in more of a lecture style) to truly utilize the flexible furniture provided. Peer pressure from those staff [members] who quickly realized the power the flexible furniture had for engagement and classroom management also helped increase adoption by others.”

Key Takeaways

Teachers want to change up their space: The survey results indicate that teachers are rearranging their classroom in various ways, with only 5% indicating they never change their classroom configuration. Clearly there is a need to re-configure the environment and keep things fresh; providers of furniture for schools and other learning environments should keep this in mind when positioning their products and services.

Teachers need help maximizing their space: Solution providers should focus on how their products helps improve storage and classroom space to provide educators with ways to maximize small spaces.

About this Research and Methodology

State of the K-12 Market 2018: The Impact of Learning Spaces on Student Success, is based on an online survey conducted by MDR, with a nationwide sample of K-12 public school educators. Teachers and librarian/media specialists were sent an email invitation to take the survey and 1,685 completed it. Data collection occurred from May 24 through June 17, 2018. Respondents were asked if their school had undergone a construction or renovation in the past five years, or if their school has a renovation planned in the near future. If neither was the case, they were asked if their school is in need of a renovation. Throughout the report, how the respondents answered this question will be referenced for perspective. Nearly one-fourth of the respondents work in schools planning a renovation, over one-third reported construction took place recently, and nearly two-thirds believe their school needs construction or a renovation in the next five years. This points to the importance teachers place on having modern, updated learning spaces in which to teach. Learn more about MDR Education reports at mdreducation.com

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