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General Chat Thread, Classroom Layouts in General; Hi, Recently there has been alot of discussion/arguments at my school about IT classroom layouts so I thought I would ...
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    Classroom Layouts

    Hi,

    Recently there has been alot of discussion/arguments at my school about IT classroom layouts so I thought I would ask on here how other schools have their classrooms.

    Currently our school has a horseshoe layout with 28 thin clients around the wall. The kids are pretty much shoulder to shoulder and the corners are terrible because you get two students really cramped.

    Over the summer we are hoping to replace one of the rooms with fat machines but its going to be impossible to have room for 28 machines on the desk with space for a monitor, keyboard and definetly no space for mouse movement, it also isnt possible for us to have a cage underneath the desk to put the machine in. Therefore the classroom would not be able to cater for the 28 students that are in each form.

    Now we have been told that there might be some budget to get proper desking in these classrooms. So I've tried talking to the teaching staff about making use of the floor space and have desking come off the walls, but the Head of IT, who is also the ICT Co-ordinator, just wont listen to our suggestions, as soon as we mention the layout, he says the only way to do it is the horse shoe shape, then he says the classrooms are too small, the class sizes are too big and that the majority of the schools have the exact same layout, but they get bigger classrooms and smaller classes, then he will have a half hour rant about it all.

    Talking with the IT Teachers they have said that in an ideal world the horseshoe allows them to see all the screens and it also has space in the middle for some desks for working on, but they agree that there isnt enough space for the kids around the walls with the way it is.

    So I was wondering how other schools have the classrooms set up and if you've got any pictures then please attach. Also it would be interesting to know how many students each of your computers room must cater for.

    Thanks,
    Adam

    p.s. I'm not anti-horseshoe, im just trying to get as much computers in the rooms and give the kids more breathing room

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    Andrew_C's Avatar
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    You really need to draw a plan, and create 28 cut out bits of paper the size of a desk and a pupil sat at it. Fiddle around and see what is possible.

    10 years ago when I laid our language lab out, the teachers were fairly Ludite and wanted rows. I did the layout bit, and the only way we could achieve what they wanted, and I needed to get around the room were rows of differing lengths set at an angle to the shape of the room. Worked well, but the teachers are now coming around toe the horseshoe scheme. I should hear after this week-end whether my summer 2010 will be spent re-fitting the room!

    I'll try to remember to add a picture tomorrow when I'm at my desk (Yep, we work Saturday AM)

    Another thought; I've looked at bladed PCs in a 19" rack with the workstation remote to it. Has all sorts of advantages including heat management and security.
    Last edited by Andrew_C; 5th June 2009 at 07:43 PM.

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    We have one suite with the IWB and master computer along one wall, workstations along the other three and a central island that has another 8 computers and a couple of printers. We have HP DC7800 ultra small form factor computers so they take up no more room than a thin client. It's making room for the keyboard and mouse that's the problem.

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    AdamK (6th June 2009)

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    john's Avatar
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    I have them coming off the walls in my rooms, we do have some old rooms that are around the edges and with central work islands but these are going in favour of the out from the walls in small rows, or having the PCs in rows in an island in the middle of the room allowing all round the edge for circulation.

    This works well for teaching as all students are facing the board at the front and the teacher just needs to stand at the back of the room and they can see all the screens (or use a program like NetSupport School to view them from there desk). I like that way of doing it and have just designed another new room that way and I think it is very much the way forward

    In terms of furniture / fitting etc I use CPU hangers (they are strap based and clamp shut from CPC) and use towers / SFF PCs hung under the desks and TFTs mounted on TFT arms to get them secure and off the desk, with worktop used for the desktop (so that makes cleaning easier and its tougher than office / school furniture). They look good and seem very practical to me and the feedback from staff and students is great

    When designing the layout I ALWAYS assume a desk space of 800mm wide per person this allows for the student to fit, have room for keyboard and mouse and the obligatory student planner / text book / worksheet etc which makes life a lot easier.
    Last edited by john; 5th June 2009 at 07:56 PM.

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    AdamK (6th June 2009)

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    User3204's Avatar
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    All of our rooms are based around the two lines down each wall and then a central spine (in parallel) so that we can get 8 on one wall (the one with the door) 10 on the other wall, and 7 on each side of the central spine, with the teachers desk at the end of the spine facing the students (and the data projector shining into their face ). We have no corners.

    This means we can get 32 computers (plus teacher) into a room 7m wide, by 9m long.

    I think you need to be able to have 750mm per student. I know people will complain that the room is too small, in which case you need to suggest a different room...


    We have had other layouts, but they all leave desks where we can't see the pupils screens.

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    AdamK (6th June 2009)

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    BECTAS guidelines state 1 metre per student, but that's near impossible unless you have massive classrooms. I usually go with a measurement of 70cm per student as a minimum. Any closer than this, and there really isn't room to fit the keyboard and mouse in properly.

    I like the broken horseshoe where by the side desks don't meet up with the bench forming the end of the horse shoe, so you can get PCs all the way along the back wall. This makes most efficient use of the space in my opinion.

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    We have in effect a double horseshoe shap ie one that goes around one side wall and then halfway down the back wall and down the middle and the other in the same way using the other side wall.

    You can't quite see all the screens but you can see most of them so its not too bad.

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    *Puts on teacher hat*

    horeshoe makes life much easier for us as it means we can see all the screens in the room at the same time, also when moving from one place to another its a lot less walking

    if that wont fit, next best thing is to have one row down the middle of the classrom and one on either side wall ( unless you have strange shaped rooms putting benches along the back is a waste of time)

    the worst i have ever had to work with is rows where the kids face the front, ended up teaching from the back of the room, makes writing on the board difficult.

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    Yup prefer horseshow here as well.

    If the horseshoe is "U" shaped when "W" shaped also works.

    [ ]
    [_][_]

    Anthing else truly is a pain in the backside and will cause agro, not only with teaching but cabling as well.

    Regards

    Budgester

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    As promised, a layout plan as ours exists now.

    We can just get the 25 desks in around the walls, although we will only be using 3 or 4 for exams as they will be a bit cramped in the corners. The teachers' desk will be in the middle of the lefthand wall which faces due south, not ideal with windows in mind, but beggars can't be choosers.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Classroom Layouts-seating-plan-digital-lab.jpg  

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    I allow 750-800mm per student, and have a benching company CAD up designs for me - saves me working it out with bits of paper! I tend to go with a 'backwards rows' arrangement - i.e. the reverse of the 'old style' rows, where you end up teaching from the back of the classroom. The kids backs actually face the front of the classroom. Decided on this in conjunction with teaching staff, as kids actually have to turn around to see the board it stops them messing with keyboards, etc.; teacher can also see all screens from front of room. I try to leave a bit of space at the front of the classroom for groupwork or interactive activities where the room is big enough. Works well for most scenarios, but can be difficult when teaching community adult classes, especially pensioners! For this reason, looking at introducing swivel office chairs (was loath to before due to kids permanently spinning on them!)

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    Thanks for all the replies


    I'd be surprised if the current classrooms have a space of 750mm. From a rough guess i'd say its around 600 - 650mm. Its pretty tight in there!

    Unfortunatly the majority of the classrooms around the school are quite small, so having the rooms changed is a bit of an issue.

    Currently there is a new building being put up and its likly that they will all be fitted out with computers, but I'm not sure on the room sizes at the moment.

    I have tried to mention some of the layouts above, such as a row down two of of the walls, then a doubel row coming up the middle where the teacher would only have to move abit to the left or right to see all the screens, but everytime I try to suggest anything but the horseshoe layout the Head of IT shouts at me saying it will not work and that we need new classrooms instead!

    So I kind of get the feeling that we are going to end up with a classroom setup that can only fit 20 - 24 computers and 4 - 8 students are going to have to sit at tables not using the computers

    Adam

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    Thought I would throw in my 2ps worth.

    Four out of eight of our ICT suites are occupied by ICT teachers and have computers around the edge of the room with standard desks in the middle. The issue of normal desking hasn't been raised so far and where there is space I think it is important to have the option. As you know not all ICT work is practical and a computerless desk can also be a means of managing behaviour.

    I'm about to refurnish a small room and try and squeeze in 20 laptops. I have come to the conclusion benching is the best option as no space will be lost between desks or desk legs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maniac View Post
    BECTAS guidelines state 1 metre per student, but that's near impossible unless you have massive classrooms. I usually go with a measurement of 70cm per student as a minimum. Any closer than this, and there really isn't room to fit the keyboard and mouse in properly.

    I like the broken horseshoe where by the side desks don't meet up with the bench forming the end of the horse shoe, so you can get PCs all the way along the back wall. This makes most efficient use of the space in my opinion.
    Hi, sorry to dig this up, have you got a link or copy of that BECTA document please as I suspect I'm going to be asked for it after I said I cannot put the PCs that close together today as BECTA say its more like 800-1m as a minimum size spacing.

    Edit - Found it myself after lots of BECTA site searching - http://schools.becta.org.uk/index.ph..._hs_03&rid=152 (perhaps its time Google buys a BECTA mini-google )
    Last edited by john; 29th June 2009 at 10:47 PM.

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    Have you got accurate room measurements (to the nearest cm) including doors, windows, radiators?

    I've had to produce around 60 different plans for 3 different ICT rooms in the last year. Would be happy to have a quick stab at yours if you send me the specs.

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