Classroom Design

4 Design Ideas to Create an Engaging and Comfortable Classroom Environment

Teaching isn't just about transferring knowledge to students. It's also important to create an atmosphere in which kids feel understood, comfortable and supported on their educational journey. And while this can seem like an overwhelming task when considering the many things that teachers need to contend with on a regular basis, there are many helpful tech-based apps and programs that can help you achieve your classroom goals quickly and easily. From interior design apps to smart lights, check out these four ideas for how to make your classroom more comfortable and engaging for everyone who uses it.

1. Balance Colors with Accent Walls

Every kid is likely to have his or her own favorite color, but there is evidence to suggest that people tend to respond to specific colors in particular ways, regardless of personal preference. In the classroom, bright, vibrant colors on the warm side of the spectrum, like yellow or orange, can be stimulating and energizing in all the right ways.

By painting an accent wall at the front of the room, you can help capture and channel some of this energy, while the kids are focused on the teacher in front of it. Not sure how to go about choosing the right shade? Consider investing in a mobile app that will allow you to take a picture of your classroom, and virtually paint the wall or walls to find the right shade. You can even test the colors on your students to involve them in the process.

Helpful Tech Gadgets to Try

If you have a smartphone, download the app Paint My Place for free. Take a photo of the classroom, and play with colors from several brands to find one that matches colors already in the room for a cohesive look, while adding that crucial pop of color.

Money-Saving Tips

Though factors such as size and complexity will affect your final cost, you can expect to spend between $400 and $800 per room for professional painting.

The app itself is free and to save money, consider painting the wall DIY. Parent volunteers could easily complete this upgrade within a few hours.

2. Make The Most Of Natural Light

Whenever possible, bringing natural light into the classroom can make for a warmer, more relaxing environment. Healthcare facilities use natural light and outdoor views as a way of reducing stress in patients, and while too much distraction from the outdoors can be a bad thing in the classroom, skylights are often a good way of balancing those priorities in school settings.

classroom natural lighting example 

It can be difficult to add in more windows to an existing building, so consider supplementing with smart lights. Smart lights can be programmed to go on at specific times of day, when the natural light filtering in isn't quite bright enough. Paired with some daylight-spectrum light bulbs, you'll be able to keep the lights bright all day long.

Helpful Tech Gadgets to Try

Smart LED bulbs can be screwed into existing light fixtures, then programmed with a free app. Set them to turn on when the natural light in the room is at its lowest, and program the color to daylight to keep colors and light consistent throughout the day.

Philips makes a color ambiance starter kit that can allow you to adjust the color perfectly in the classroom for about $199 for four bulbs and controller.

Or consider a LIFX bulb that is WiFi-enabled and able to adjust to many colors, including offer night vision for classroom movies for about $79.

Money-Saving Tips

Look for LED bulbs that come with a controller or app as part of the purchase, and use existing light fixtures rather than replacing them.

3. Focus Student Attention in Better Time

Some students work better when they have an easy way to visualize how much time they have a for a task, from completing an assignment to cleaning up when it's done. Clocks are handy, but they can't always give the type of visual reminder many students, including those with special needs, may need to complete their tasks on time.

Investing in technology that allows you to set a very visible, countdown for each task can help keep students focused and on the job. Visual timers that can be programmed per task and placed around the room where they can be easily seen will help even the most distracted learner.

Helpful Tech Gadgets to Try

Consider investing in the Time Timer, a device that shows the amount of time per project in a diminishing red wheel that's easy to see and understand. Different versions may suit different age levels and student attention spans, allowing you to customize for your classroom's needs.

Money-Saving Tips

If you can't afford to place these at each worktable, invest in a single device and mount it at the front of the room where it's easily seen, so all students can keep track easily.

4. Improve Comfort Smartly

Discomfort relating to fluctuating temperatures in the classroom is a major distraction, so taking steps to cut that out will do wonders for teachers and students alike. Temperatures in a classroom can fluctuate wildly over the course of a day. Sunlight filtering through windows and busy, active bodies can raise temperatures, while shadows and seated students can cool things down.

Having a smart thermostat that can adjust the temperature of the room over the course of the day and learn your preferred temperatures as you go can help keep the room comfortable all day long. Many smart thermostats can be programmed and fine tuned with a smartphone app for convenience, and many will also recognize and learn your patterns over time, so after a few weeks, the thermostat will automatically adjust the temperature of the room as needed to keep an ideal learning environment for everyone inside.

Helpful Tech Gadgets to Try

There are many great smart thermostat devices on the market today. One of the most popular, and one with the most options for programming and learning your behavior, is the Nest, which learns your schedule and can even shut itself off when the classroom is not in use, saving money.

Another good choice is the Ecobee, which has room sensors to help monitor room use, as well as a smartphone app that can allow you to adjust as needed. It will also learn your schedule and help you avoid programming and adjusting in the future.

Money-Saving Tips

Smart thermostats do require a significant initial investment, and, in most cases, these aren't projects you want to DIY. However, the energy-efficient nature of these projects generally leads to money savings in the long term by reducing the need to crank the heat or AC when the room isn't in use. Plus, some states may offer tax incentives for investments of this type, which can be beneficial for private schools looking to make these upgrades.

Making Smart Choices for Smart Classrooms

In a high-tech world, there are countless ways that technology and devices can help make your classrooms more efficient, more comfortable, and more engaging for students and teachers alike. Make the most of your classrooms with one or all of these projects to start seeing better results today.