According to Jason Burnside, head of education design at the Dubai-based architecture and design firm Godwin Austen Johnson, blended learning, or the combining of technology with traditional teaching, is impacting classroom design.
At a round table discussion held at Middle East Architect‘s offices, along with Ralf Steinhauer from RSP and Phillip Jones from B+H Architects, Burnside argued that technology has become highly integrated into students’ lives. Now, he says, students are expected to bring tablets to class that connect to the interactive touchscreen televisions, which are slowly replacing the traditional blackboard.
“Of course this is really only in regards to schools in the private sector, but the tablets allow the teachers to monitor their pupils’ progress and provides better insight into how each student is doing,” he says. “And the technology is being used in a more clever way, because the way things are going in schools mimics the way they now operate in workplaces. Things are a lot more collaborative and interactive, so these spaces require flexibility.”
And while traditional classrooms are still in demand for upcoming education projects in the UAE, beyond them, institutions are looking for innovation in spatial design.
“It’s all about light and collaborative environments,” Burnside says. “We’ve had to do a couple of schools where the plot sizes were pretty tight, but the client still wanted an open layout. So we’re now looking at bringing in the foyer space as a centre or heart for the school that teachers or other staff can use.”
Follow up with Middle East Architect‘s July issue for the full story.
DesignMENA recently published a trend report for interior design in the education sector. To read it, click here.