Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Are you sitting comfortably?

I had a very enjoyable visit to RM's demonstration room in Oxford - filled with ideas and solutions around ICT in learning and so well put together.

I first saw these mobile "stacked" seating blocks at the thoughtful - and thought provoking - New Line Academy in Kent (see them again here) and again just the other day in the indefatigable Kate Holland's newly opened Imagine Centre in Essex (see elsewhere in this phone blog). But seeing these two blocks here, set at a jaunty angle to each other, I'm reminded of how tiny details really matter...

..ask any comedian and they will tell you they hate to perform in 1970s theatres - with all the seats in a straight row, and "lean-back-comfy" too. The problem with those theatres is that without turning in your seat you don't see the faces of other, are unsure of when to laugh, are socially quite isolated. Performances fall flat. Classrooms today are suddenly (finally!) embracing mutuality, collegiality, collaboration and teachers understand that eye contact is really important. New Line knew that when the built their curved seating (they called them their Bananas!) - students could see each other because of the curve. But many copies of New Line's work seem to completely miss the importance of that curve and the impact of height. The copies of New Line's idea seem good, but the devil as they say is in the detail.

In learning every little detail really matters - and that goes for our furniture too.

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