Rockford Public Schools was looking to create a space for students that allows for collaboration and problem solving in a team setting. The district toured North Carolina State University and University of North Carolina to understand how they designed their classrooms to simulate a collaborative workplace environment. A combination of these building tours and our expertise led to the design of the Creative Teaching and Learning Center. This classroom design allows the teacher to act as more of a facilitator than a lecturer. The lobby entrance to this center has touchdown spaces for students to do work online or for other classes. The project presented an opportunity to create a learning environment that is truly unique and the first of its kind in Michigan.
In this tech-rich space, students work together in smaller groups at pods spaced throughout the room, while the instructor displays their work on the screens, controlled from a central station. The 7-foot diameter tables double as whiteboards. Students can cast their work onto any screen for display and discussion using their own devices while the teacher walks among them, facilitating their interactions. Designed after professor Robert Beichner’s SCALE-UP classroom and instruction model, which has shown impressive improvements in student performance, the innovative facility puts students at the center of the curriculum.
The Creative Teaching and Learning Center mimics the world of work. The basic idea of the instructional model is that students are given something interesting to investigate, related to the class subject. While they work in teams, the instructor is free to roam around the classroom – asking questions, sending one team to help another, or asking why someone else got a different answer. The spaces within the center provide opportunities for students to embed 21st century skills into their learning.
Creative Teaching and Learning Center
Check out how Rockford students and staff are using the space to enhance their teaching and learning methods.
This video was originally published by Rockford High School's Broadcasting Class.