By Juliette Heppell
Year 9 students from Lampton School in Hounslow, London, have won a Classroom of the Future competition to research and design a futuristic school learning space.
Pupils at the school designed their classroom of the future after researching some of the best schools from all over the world. As overall winner of the "I Dream of Learning" competition, the school wins £30,000 to implement the design and buy the settings - including the ICT - to make the pupils' dream learning environment a reality
Lampton was competing against a number of other secondary schools in Hounslow who had entered their own ideas. The pupils’ suggestions ranged from glass domes to decked outside areas, but Lampton School pupils won with their focus on "what makes people learn", while keeping their design as environmentally friendly as possible. Feltham City Learning Centre is the creator and driver of this initiative (supported by Hounslow elearning and Brentford CLC) with capital funding from the Department for Children, Schools and Families via its ICT agency, Becta.
The pupils designed a green-focused learning space, with Astroturf floor, picnic tables, plants and a wealth of technology – from Nintendo Wii and DS, mini-laptops, standalone PCs and PDAs (personal digital assistants) to use for class work and research.
'It’s made us really think about our learning'
The judges said “learning is at the heart of this design”, and commented on the “community feel”. The students were bowled over: “We are really excited about winning. We can’t believe it; the other designs were very good and we really had no idea who would win. Our design is going to be made real and we can’t wait! It’s made us really think about our learning and take more responsibility for it.”
The classrooms involved in the development will be Lampton's citizenship and PSHE huts (temporary classrooms). They are the perfect area for such a wonderful idea because they are used by so many of the local community. With their green focus and amazing use of new technologies, including gaming, the pupils and staff are looking forward to seeing these winning ideas start to take shape.
Tony Peaty, who heads the Feltham CLC, commented: "It's 'I Dream of Learning', not 'I Dream of Teaching' so who better to engage in the process of designing a learning environment than young learners themselves? They should have the opportunity to tell us how they learn best and in what kind of environment this should take place. This is the premise upon which 'I Dream of Learning' was created and now, with students as the client team, we will ensure their creation becomes a reality."
I think everyone today knows that you can't build a future without consulting the children. That's what we did at Lampton. Their ideas were innovative and will definitely be effective. They, and I, can't believe their dreams will come true. I hope Building Schools for the Future are paying attention.
More on pupil voice
"Holographic teachers, doughnut-shaped buildings, and beanbags in social spaces" were ideas that 70 Southampton students came up in a local BSF project, reports the Southern Daily Echo in "Pupils ideas for schools of future"