How can a classroom best support all children in a class to make an inclusive environment?
Aim and Objective
Classroom design greatly impacts the learning potential for all students. But what works for one student, could actually be detrimental to another child’s learning.
Through this final project of my MA, I developed a business plan for a proposed company, FlexiClass, and designed a range of products. These products were specifically developed to create a calm and effective learning environment for all, whilst helping relieve the ever growing time and creative pressures for educators when delivering the curriculum.
Each product was carefully designed with both teachers and students in mind, with specific aims for each audience:
• Support teachers in delivering their curriculum
• Provide an easy and potentially time saving solution
• Allow flexibility for different class sizes
• Be flexible for different types of teaching styles
• Create an inclusive environment to support all children in their early years education
• Empower children and give them a sense of pride and ownership of “their space”
• Reduce distraction in the classroom by streamlining and simplifying design and colours in the classroom
• Provide a happy, practical and safe educational environment
• Be environmentally conscience and sustainable
• Support staff mental health and well-being
• Utilise existing classroom spaces and resources
For this final project, I developed three new products, specifically designed with inclusivity in mind. As more children than ever are being identified as needing extra support, the environment that we create in a classroom has become even more important. Through FlexiClass products, I aimed to empower children, allowing them to focus and enjoy learning, whilst capturing their imagination.
The main product I designed and prototyped for this project was MagniWall, a flexible wall display. Research shows that permanent displays can be distracting and ultimately be detrimental to a child’s learning. MagniWall simply allows children to easily construct their own classroom displays using magnetic tiles. By building the displays themselves, children will better absorb the information and have increased pride and ownership of their learning environment. These displays can be easily removed by teachers to reduce distraction and is a tool to support delivering the curriculum. I also developed textured magnetic displays for tactile learning.
The next product I further developed was COLORUG, a flexible floor space which allows teachers to easily change seating positions and create small groups. Designed to support both “Hexagonal Thinking” and the “Kohler Effect” teaching methods, COLORUG gives a floor space that teachers can use in a variety of different ways. Research shows that regularly changing the child’s seating location and position will help with better engagement in activities. By sitting or standing on different colours on COLORUG, the positions of the children in the classroom will change – this could be a circle, rows facing the front or small groups which allows teachers to be more strategic about who each student sits with. COLORUG has three standard sizes but could also be customisable to include the school colours or mascot, and making bespoke products based upon each class individual needs. There are also extra accessories that could be used with COLORUG including mini hexagonal shaped seats made from laminated steam bent wood, Velcro letters and numbers, and an application which allows teachers to track students progress in small groups based on colour groupings.
The final product I designed for this module was COLORUG Outdoors. This took the concept of COLORUG and transformed into portable rubber mats can be used in PE or recess. Teachers can place each coloured hexagon to group children or use them as markers in games.
How has your practice developed while studying the MA in Graphic Design with a global cohort?
This MA has been incredible for me, both for developing my design skills but for discovering what really makes me tick personally in my practice.
By looking beyond the obvious and really getting under the skin of my location, I was able to find more than I expected and I know that I wouldn’t have created the works that I have throughout this course if it wasn’t for these new perspectives I found along the way.
I’ve met (both in person and virtually)
some amazingly talented designers and made wonderful friends. They have been inspiring throughout and again, shown different perspectives and design approaches which I have personally found so inspiring.
Our trip to Berlin was probably the highlight, having the opportunity to work collaboratively with some of my peers from all around the globe.
This MA has allowed me to discover my passion for early years education and inclusive support for those with special educational needs. I’ve explored this theme through many projects but I was glad to be able to further explore this for my final MA submission. It is something that I now know I would like to pursue beyond this MA and hopefully turn this business idea into a reality.
My peers, along with my tutors at Falmouth, have helped build my confidence and shape the designer I am. Thanks to them, I feel I’m walking away with a renewed passion for graphic design but also an ambition that I didn’t know was in me.
Please follow this external platform link, to view the Final MA Project in full and/or portfolio documentation.