Classroom Design

Burnet CISD Adopts New Tech and Furniture to Improve Collaboration

The Burnet Consolidated Independent School District has adopted new classroom furniture and technology in an attempt to improve student engagement.

The district partnered with Meteor Education to launch the "Inspired Classroom" project in the fall using funds provided by the Franklin I Kickett Foundation. Each classroom was outfitted with Koi desks, which are designed to be combined in different configurations for collaboration, flip-top desks with makerboard tops, chairs that allow students to sit in all four directions, soft seating for breakout areas and other flexible components.

Each classroom received six Chromebooks — for use in small groups or as individual stations — and a Tech Tub charging station, as well as an iPad Mini and Apple TV.

Prior to implementation, participants met to share ideas and lesson plans designed to use the new technology and furniture. Technology training was offered in December and two more meetings were held to allow participants to share ideas, experiences and needs as the tools were installed from October through February.

Students were surveyed before the changes and again three months after their classrooms were redesigned. On the first survey, 43 percent of students said the furniture in the classroom had no impact on their learning and 25 percent said it made working with their classmates easy. After the redesign, 88 percent of students surveyed said the furniture in their classroom helped them to learn and 94 percent said it made collaboration easier.

"This project challenged our traditional 'sit and get' model of student learning," said Keith McBurnett, the superintendent for Burnet CISD, in a prepared statement. "And I honestly never thought I would see these kind of results. The technology and flexible furniture configurations provided new exciting ways for students to learn, increased collaboration and helped us build and strengthen other 21st Century skills."

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].