Redesigning the room2learn platform
Instagram, Pinterest, Blogger… There are so many platforms for browsing classroom designs and setups. But have you ever thought about the why behind each layout choice? Why is flexible seating becoming more popular among teachers, and what’s the science behind having students sit in a circle for better discussion? Here’s where room2learn comes in.
You can think of our web platform like a “Pinterest for teachers.” Thousands of teachers have joined the community to browse and upload “rooms” — social posts that real teachers share about what learning looks like in their classrooms. Unlike other platforms which focus heavily on visuals and aesthetic, we want to provide educators with more than that! Each “room” outlines details about the space design, layout or DIY hack, and how it ties into learning. Think function over form.
Since we launched room2learn.org in 2016, we’ve heard from hundreds of teachers that they love seeing these classroom designs, but that it’s hard to search for content — especially when you don’t know what problem you’re solving for!
So, we set out to create the best user experience possible for teachers to find learning-focused classroom designs.
What we Learned from Teachers
We surveyed elementary, middle school, and high school teachers around the US and Canada.
When it comes to classroom design, we found that teachers struggle most with solutions for group work and project-based learning. Additionally, teachers want to create spaces in which students can feel safe and included.
The survey surfaced some of the hairy challenges teachers faced on a day-to-day basis:
Teachers are working in tight spaces and are in need of more ideas and low-budget space hacks. In fact, budget was a recurring issue among teachers:
- “I really enjoyed exploring all the hacks. That seemed like the most realistic application of room2learn for me (given budget and physical constraints).”
- “As a teacher, I had neither the budget or power to make such large purchases, so I’d be most interested in ideas, use studies and an easy way to present it to the people with the money.”
With this feedback in mind, we set out to redesign the platform experience. The full search engine will be unveiled next Wednesday, May 9, so check your inbox for the announcement. (Sign up for our weekly newsletter if you’re not on it already.)
For now, you can browse rooms by learning style, right on the home page! Here’s a sampling of some classrooms you’ll find:
It’s easy to land in a rabbit hole of browsing for inspiration, so it’s important to focus your search with a purpose. Before browsing room2learn, think about your main teaching goals. Some questions to ponder:
- Problem: What is the main concern you are looking to address? Abundance of resources? Lack of flexible working space?
- Process: What activities are you planning for the classroom?
- Impact on Learning: What educational goal are you trying to achieve?
We want to hear from you! What do you think of this new search? Have you found some cool new rooms? Let us know how room2learn can best serve your classroom design needs at firstname.lastname@example.org.