Godrej Interio, India’s leading furniture solutions brand, announced today the release of its exclusive whitepaper: Re-thinking learning spaces. Keeping in mind how learning will change and the extent of impact it will have on physical schools, the workspace and ergonomic research cell at Godrej Interio conducted a nation-wide study. The study comprised the inputs from parents of over 350 school children aged between 3-15 years from across India. Additionally, it included the responses from teachers and principals to understand their perspective on the future of learning spaces.
The study revealed that 78% of children enjoy online learning and are happy because they get to be at home and learn. 75% of children have reported to be communicating more with teachers in an online class. 85% of children were able to understand concepts well, when they were being taught online. Considering the current situation, online learning has helped educational institutes engage with children and reduce the impact of a break in learning. However, there are some less desirable fallouts of online learning as well.
The study findings revealed that 50% of parents interacted with mentioned that their children get distracted at home by their siblings or other family members. They are also affected by the incessant conversations and some other activities going on at home, which appear more interesting to the child. 62% of the children in the survey complained about technical glitches faced in an online lecture. It was also found that 22% of the students took online classes while seated on a bed, while about 14% sat on the floor.
The COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted the academic year, as well as cancelled classes and examinations across the country. It will take time for lives to get back to normal. However, there is a need to return to brick and mortar classrooms.
Anil Mathur, Chief Operating Officer, Godrej Interio, said, “As the education system evolves across borders and education media, the responsibilities of teachers and parents also keep growing. The quantity of hours spent and the conditions under which students learn can lead to unfavorable consequences on the health. The advancements and challenges faced by students in every sphere of the learning environment may lead to serious health issues. Reopening of schools is inevitable, the structure and design of educational institutions need to be set up keeping in mind all the precautionary measures and the health of children as well as teachers. Basis these insights, we developed a guide for redesigning learning spaces which talks about the importance of incorporating the correct kind of balance while learning. As we accept the new normal and innovative mechanisms emerge to keep the knowledge ﬂowing, it is important to be productive and stay healthy.”
The whitepaper also shared the following tips to arrive at a multi-pronged, staged approach to opening learning institutes and creating an engaging and safe learning environment:
Split scheduling & blended learning: Alternating days of the week or times of the day may offer schools a way of limiting the number of students physically present in the building at any time. Students who do not come on a particular day can join their classmates virtually. Conducting double shifts to ensure that all students don’t have to come at the same time could be another way to reduce the headcount in the institute
Smaller class size: One of the most important measures institutes can take is to reduce class sizes. Class sizes of 25 or more students in a small classroom pose obvious risks to student health and safety
Modify classroom layouts: Seating arrangements will have to be modified to ensure only one child sits at every desk in the classroom and wherever possible, a distance of 6 feet has to be maintained. Educators can create flexible, multi-use spaces by using moveable furniture on wheels and modular pieces that easily can be arranged into different configurations. Flexible furniture can help easy configuration of the classroom layout with desks further apart and facing the same direction
Re-purpose spaces: Existing underutilized space could be retooled to create supplemental learning and working environments to provide for safe distancing or be designated as quarantine areas. Library, sports rooms, computer labs and even the community halls can be converted into classrooms to ensure distancing
Desk enclosures and removable chair covers: Desks in common areas like the computer room and library can be provided with desk enclosures to cordon off the user from others in the room. Enclosure material should be easy to clean and sanitize daily
Cafeteria and canteen seating arrangements: A mindful café and canteen seating is crucial because while eating and drinking, one cannot have his/her mask on. Hence, it is recommended to maintain social distancing in the seating provided. Guards or screens should be erected between two diners to ensure their safety in case they sneeze or cough while eating or drinking. Shield partitions could be of a clear material like acrylic to allow people to see each other while they dine. This should also be done to ensure easy cleaning and sanitization
Partition in staff room & admin room: Increased height of existing screens, or introducing an add-on to the existing low height of the privacy screen between two teachers in the staff room can help reduce the risk of infection. The use of 6 feet high screens placed on the floor could alternatively be used in between two staff members seated in close proximity.
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