"OK class, now the information near the bottom of the screen WILL be on the test!"

Often too late, facilities managers and building committees find traditional classroom designs just can't meet the physical requirements needed for good seeing, hearing and energy efficiency.
Read what others have learned below, then e-mail us your design questions, or share good ideas.

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About the Classroom Design Forum and its contents


Being able to see the multimedia images

*Is the screen too low?

*Position Ceiling-mount Video Projectors CAREFULLY

* Be careful about "viewing angles"

*Were you planning to ONLY use monitors in your classrooms to view web stuff?

*Here are the projection distances required for transparency projectors

*Raising a portion of the ceiling for screens

*Raisin' the ceiling - a view during construction

*How to keep rich dark colors in video images

*Using a lighting "scene controller" in today's classrooms

Oct.04.2000 - Here's a handy link to Robert X. Cringely's "Digital TV: A Cringely Crash Course," from PBS

Flat Screens for Video using LED Technology. Neat! Dec.04.2000

Take a look at Princeton's new physics & math building with the giant rear-view projection screens Jan.10.2001

Electronic Whiteboards: They offer new possibilities... but also new challenges Jan.23.2001

Unfortunately, some common screen mounting-height recommendations are wrong! Feb.07.2001

New classroom facility at University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse Feb.19.2001

Want to know about the technical side of LED video displays? What to expect in minimum viewing distances vs. pixel size? Nits available in various types? Major manufacturers? Jun.21.2001

Remember when I was grumbling about the drawbacks of electronic whiteboards? Check out this new product... and if any of you have used it, let us know if you were satisfied
. Apr.06.2003 (Dec.16.2001, revised)

The new projection screen material called "GrayHawk" Mar.12.2002

With new video projector models coming out all the time, how's a school or college A/V person going to keep up? ALL the adverts make each machine sound better than the anyone else's. Here's help. Oct.02.2002

Can you successfully have 170 degree viewing of complex scientific or business graphs? Feb.21.2004

Students should be able to understand other students' voices

*Keep heating and airconditioning noise low

Has your planning committee told your architect to minimize acoustic treatment in your planned multipurpose room to make cleaning easier for the janitorial staff? It's a tricky situation! Take time to visit this link to classroom speech inteligibility samples,based on the amount of acoustic treatment in the room, from McSquared System Design Group, North Vancouver, B.C. Sep.17.2000

Here's a new portable, self-contained, wireless, P.A. system that is easy to set up in a gallery, large conference room, cafeteria, gym, or multipurpose room. No connecting cords to get lost. It's even powered by built-in rechargeable batteries. Nov.02.2000

Are sounds from the music room disturbing your kids while taking tests? Look into a "modular music room." Mar.14.2001

Think your architect will routinely design your school ventilation system to meet the planned ADA guidelines? Better check out this new on-line booklet from the Acoustical Society of America! Aug.26.2001

Vensterschool, Gronigen, Netherlands A Pre-K -9th school based on the teaching method called Study House - Take a look! Oct.23.2002

Finally... An ANSI standard for classroom acoustics! Click for links to the background story of how the standard was developed, as well as to how to buy the full standard for only $35 Nov.17.2002

Don't let multimedia equipment violate entrance/exit codes

*Plan for more equipment space at the front of the room

*Plan for more equipment space... #2

*Here are the projection distances required for transparency projectors

Typical multimedia room layouts

A typical 20ft. x 24ft. room layout using tables

A typical 20ft. x 24ft. room layout using tablet arm chairs

The basic layout needed for computer tables

New classroom facility at University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse Feb.19.2001

Here's a page that will acquaint you with the U.of Wisconsin's 28 classroom Pyle Center at Madison. Jun.04.2001

If you haven't seen the great facilities at Bentley College, MA, here's the link! Aug.13.2001

Here's a link about the AV facilities at the Brain Institute-University of Florida. Jan.02.2002

A reader wonders how to solve the problem of having wheelchairs usually located in the front row of a tiered lecture room to see live demonstrations... but the person then having to lean back or crick his/her neck to see images on the main projection screen above. Three opinions are offered...add yours! Jan.31.2002

Here's a school with lots of flexibility in the way space can be used and LOTS of natural light. Take a look. Mar.20.2002

As sustainable design for schools is catching on across the nation, visit a virtual tour of the Lee Walker Elementary in McKinney Tx.
Daylighting, rainwater harvesting, natural landscaping, a wind generator... and a curriculum that helps students learn how these things affect their environment. May.19.2002

Instructors say they love this computer lab arrangement! Dec.11.2002

Ceiling-mount video projector details

Sizing projection screens for video projection

Determining the throw distances required for typical LCD projectors

Quality lighting... NOT one-type-fits all

*What a difference good classroom lighting makes!

*Using "Layered Lighting" in classrooms

Light fixture differences

These new lighting guidelines from the respected IESNA can make a real difference in the QUALITY of the lighting that is installed in your next classroom renovation or new building! Sep.26.2000

Future-Proofing Classrooms against wiring changes


Futureproofing with a new wall box product

Here's an attractive new surface raceway to make it easier to change computer and multimedia wiring as your instructional needs change...without opening up walls! Jan.02.2001

Multimedia Consoles

*A neat multimedia lectern for today's presenter

*Another neat multimedia console


*Watch out for "Computer Table Jumble

*Mounting details for Grafik Eye Controllers

A Reader is Looking for Information About How the Physical Environment Affects Both Students and Teachers
Let us know what research you've uncovered, and we'll send it along Jun.11.2002

New classroom facility at University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse Feb.19.2001

A twin-level computer table for better classroom sight-lines Aug.21.2001

What? Less emphasis on traditional classrooms? March.03.2002
Take some time to look around this fascinating website from AIA Amsterdam thru designshare.

Are you giving your students enough desk space? Feb.25.2003

Bigger student desk, but still a tablet-arm design? Mar.09.2003

A Reader's Critique of the Larger-Tablet Student Chair Apr.07.2003

A reader would like to encourage discussion about ADA seating. May.01.2003

Here's her letter.

Design Philosophy Corner

*A few thoughts about using multimedia in the classroom

The First Law of Reality Mar.01.2001

"Is it possible to design buildings so well and so carefully that they do not cast a long ecological shadow over the future that our students will inherit? ...buildings can be designed to give more than they take." -David Orr, Professor of Environmental Studies at Oberlin College Dec.30.2002

Placing Students First: Sustainable School Design-SCN Oct.30.2003

Singapore student, 14, sends this information about her research Nov.04.2003

into classroom colors and layout

E-mail your own multimedia experiences, comments, and questions to:

Be sure to also visit our companion site: Hoosier Handweaving Studio

Copyright 2000 Ronald E. Baker

Links available thru this site retain their own copyrights.