Helen Chen
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Stacks: Modular Furniture for the Classroom

Creating an adaptable and flexible classroom for a better learning environment



CONTEXT
Personal research project

CATEGORY
Design Research,
Expert Interviews,
Concept Development,
Product Design

What does the classroom of the future look like?

Education is shifting towards a more collaborative and project-based approach, fostering the student’s ability to apply skills to a variety of rapidly changing situations.

In recent years, innovation in education has been driven by the following principles:

  • Flexibility

  • Customization of new curriculum

  • Utilization and integration of new technologies, such as AI and AR/VR



RESEARCH

To tackle this question, I took a deep dive into the history of the classroom in the context of pedagogy and technologies since the Industrial Revolution. At the same time, I also conducted expert interviews and researched about the current and near-future speculative trends in education.


HISTORY OF THE DESIGN OF CLASSROOMS

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HISTORY OF TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM


CURRENT TRENDS AND INNOVATIONS IN EDUCATION

  1. Noble Academy and Intrinsic Schools in Chicago: current classrooms in the US that use the Harkness method and blended learning environments

  2. Teach to One: data-driven learning, adaptive personalized curriculum through AI tracking

  3. Peer by Moment Design: mixed-reality education platform, using AR/VR to teach beyond the textbook

Image courtesy Moment Design

Image courtesy Moment Design

Image courtesy Intrinsic Schools

Image courtesy Intrinsic Schools



INTRODUCING
STACKS

The classroom of the future needs to accommodate a wide range of teaching tools and environments. The static arrangement of tradition classrooms is to be replaced by one that is responsive and interactive.

POSSIBLE CONFIGURATIONS

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EXAMPLE LAYOUTS

The classroom can be divided into multiple spaces with a co-teacher: a discussion/lecture section on one side and project pods on the other, separated by wall divides. The classroom can then be quickly transformed into an activity space for a VR simulation for a history class, with the furniture modules stacked against the walls to make space for the VR stations.