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[K12OSN] Re: Room Layout

I've been pondering the classroom layout for sometime, especially when K12LTSP allows us finally to move to a 2:1 ratio. The issues are space, cabling, classroom non-PC use, and cost.

I've found there are three basic layouts:

1) Standard tables around the perimeter, either long side against the wall to save classroom interior space, or short side against the wall so you can put three LCDs and small thin clients on each long side of the table for 6 clients per table. Short keyboards help a lot in the latter configuration for 6' tables. Many of our teachers prefer to use the half disk or semicircle tables against the walls so that students can't easily look onto a neighbor's work, but you can also put divider slabs between each station (a piece of hardboard perpendicularly stuck in a block of hardwood would work).

2) Tables in parallel rows, short sides against one wall for aisle and teacher desk on opposite wall, or V configuration with aisle in the middle. Common for computer labs, but leaves no interior space for non-PC activities.

3) Clusters of 4-6 standard student desks in the interior of the room, often preferred in normal classrooms. Whereas cabling/power are straightforward for options 1) and 2), for the cluster option, unless you have power outlets imbedded in the floors throughout the rooms, it's a major issue; even with rugs, the kids will also trip on them because they refuse to lift their feet when walking.

Some new wrinkles I've thought of:

1) For the tables on the perimeter, long side against the wall, if you use LCD monitors with new, small thin clients, standard 6' computer tables are twice as wide as they need to be. Use half-width tables instead, and you'll save interior space. We're also going to use half width tables in the more narrow hallways for our remaining 'hallway laptop carts' which in this case are fixed tables since we've noticed the existing carts aren't being moved.

3) In addition to the cabling issue with clustering, solutions like the Bretford Connections SmartDeck Work Center are very pricey ($600+) and don't include a place to put books, pencils, etc like standard student desks. A cheaper solution is to use standard desks already in the classroom and find a solution to getting a network and power cable to them, hopefully w/o tripping. Is there a solution other than the rubber humped strip/ductape on the floor approach to getting power and network cable to clusters of desks in the middle of a classroom?


Daniel Howard
President and CEO
Georgia Open Source Education Foundation

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