The classroom is experiencing an evolution from the previous in-person gathering space with one focal point at the head of the room, featuring the traditional chalkboard or whiteboard, to a more dynamic, hybrid format with technology making it all possible. Even pre-pandemic, colleges and universities were already providing hybrid or even completely remote classes. Multi-use rooms were also an up-and-coming trend in K-12 as well as higher education. With new challenges mainly brought on by the ongoing pandemic, these trends have accelerated dramatically.
With this shifting classroom landscape in mind, Howe Public Schools in Oklahoma teamed up with Zoom and Salamander Designs to develop and implement classrooms that offer flexible hybrid settings for both students and teachers whether on or off campus. Salamander’s tech focused furniture is aptly suited for today’s adaptable learning solutions while Zoom has remained a strong leader in online collaboration making them an excellent pairing for the classroom of today and into the future.
By combining a Zoom Room device, a display and a Salamander mobile cart, teachers or guest speakers can be off campus and can still join on campus students by Zooming from their home or office. These mobile units can be moved from classroom to classroom or within a space for individualized instruction.
Ebb and Flow
To engage students and provide more hands-on learning, instructors will often provide initial information to an entire class followed by breakout sessions that allow them to work together in smaller groups on the material originally presented—such as collaborating on group presentations for World History. With learners now often in separate locations, this method presents a challenge. At Howe Public Schools, the solution is a combination of large displays, Salamander’s Strut Walls, cameras, mics and mobile tables. Multiple cameras and large screens on a dual cabinet from Salamander allow students offsite to see the classroom, teacher, and an annotation white board. The teacher and students can also see remote learners on one of the monitors while content is shared on another.
This setup allows classrooms to be modified quickly and easily for breakout sessions and other small group needs. Additionally, Zoom Rooms can form an “acoustic fence” around small groups so that remote students only hear the mics of the group they are working with rather than distracting background noise from other nearby groups.