Sunday, July 10, 2011

Door Handles

Dr. Tae wrote about door handles and bad design. It made me think about all of the places in my classroom that come with instructions. Some of them, like the reference books explaining how to use Excel on the thinclients we have instead of computers, are probably necessary, since I can't re-engineer the district file system and Excel into something that's intuitive for all of my varied students. Others, like my in and out bins, already have minimal signage: just the period numbers and student names.

Seating arrangements should naturally lead to the desired behavior, right? So what behaviors do I want? There's working-in-a-group. That's the lab tables. There's sharing whiteboards with the class. For that I really want chairs arranged in a circle without desks. There's listening to/watching/taking notes on a speaker/video. For that I want desks and chairs facing roughly in the same direction. Transitions are the sticky point. I'll need to practice the transitions, complete with moving furniture around, at the beginning of the year.

Of course, one of the big 'Bad Design' features of my classroom is the myriad drawers in the lab tables. Maybe they were useful when it was a chemistry classroom and they all closed properly. Now they just seem to accumulate garbage and bang knees. I guess it's probably time to find plywood and cover the ones that don't lock.

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