As part of the planning process for the new elementary school we're building, a group of teachers and administrators toured four nearby schools that opened in the past two years. I am still mulling over what I saw, but this is what jumped out at me. Wires. In otherwise, thoughtfully (if not innovatively) planned schools, I saw wires and cords...
After retrofitting hundreds of classrooms in our district (with its oldest buildings from the 1920s) for telephones, computer networks, mounted projectors, interactive white boards and voice amplification systems, I was expecting, nay yearning, to see some beautiful, clean, neat, efficient installations - where technology was transparently integrated into the physical structure of these new buildings. You know, an absence of wire molding, no power cords snaking across floors and down walls, and sufficient electrical outlets where they needed to be.
No such luck.
If the wiring looks like that shown above in my new elementary school, I will be ashamed.
Oh, there is a practical as well as aesthetic reason to be neat. Wires are intimidating. The more wires, the scarier the technology looks. The scarier the tech, the less likely it is to be used. Hide the wires to help for the sake of your technophobes.
This is first in what will probably be a series of continuing ruminations addressing the question: How do I keep my district from building a brand new 1950’s school?
What are the qualities of an elementary school building that prepares kids for the future?