design education.


Project Name: Design Education

Designer: Myron Ruiz

Tutor: Leong Yap


In response to the present teaching and learning routines in design and visual communication, secondary schools are still old-fashioned wherein teachers just give instructions and the students are left on their own to work independently hence lacking in interaction with fellow classmates and collaboration with teachers. Traditionally, the term “classroom” is still regarded as the core knowledge of a school in nurturing their students as they prepare for their future endeavours.  The focus of this design opportunity is addressed to the school’s users, the teachers and significantly the students. By taking into account the need of secondary students to be prepared for university life, I am aiming to promote an interesting and meaningful secondary school experience and further motivate them in their future careers by providing a product feature/fixture that will transform their classroom into a student friendly and an interesting learning environment. A product solution that can interact and support in enhancing the learning capability of students with ease and flexibility within the classroom space. However, integrating technology is applicable but should not interfere with students learning momentum. To conclude, the educational institution I am working with is willing to develop its quality of learning through the gradual improvement of their classroom spaces.

“Promote an active and engaging learning experience thus I came up with “Secondary students need access to an interesting creative environment and a better form of collaboration with teachers so as to an idea to reform the traditional format of classroom spaces”.

I came up with a simple collaborative table to help design students enhance their learning process.  This product serves as the first touch point at the start of the class.

For the tabletop, I devised a clip that will hold the drawing board in place and created a pull out whiteboard where they can keep track of the development of their designs starting from conceptual sketches up to the final design.  Students can keep track of the progression of their design and get a simulation as well of the design processes & working environment in the university level.  This set-up will promote peer to peer interaction and encourage students to communicate with teachers when they go through the process of scampering & mind dumping.  The table frame, being lightweight & with handles, gives the student the flexibility to move around & be comfortable.

Since most design classes are relatively small, this product can still evolve into other design purposes for art classes & technology workshops such replacing the top with a table-type light box and a soft box for photography.  Lastly, this product is also a space saver since it is stackable.
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knowledge gathered.

  • “If learning is active and knowledge is constructed, then classrooms may need to be designed differently than they were in 1900”
  • “However, the internet has changed notion of place, time, and space.  Space is no longer just physical; it incorporates the virtual. New methods of teaching and learning, based on an improved understanding of cognition, have emerged, as well. As a result, the notion of a classroom has expanded and evolved; the space need no longer be defined by the “the class” but by learning”
  • “Learning spaces convey an image of the institution’s philosophy about teaching and learning…may represent a philosophy of “pouring content into students’ heads”

Leading the transition from classrooms to learning spaces, (2004).

  • “Since students do their ‘thinking’…In addition, students can view/critique each other’s boards while working or as a tool for presentation to the entire class”
  • “Studio/workshop classes… This format has several advantages over the traditional lecture/laboratory format. Since the entire class is taught in the same room with the same students and instructors in each class, all activities, including laboratory, can be arranged to build on another in sequence for greater learning impact”
  • “Indeed, so much is changing that we are forced to use a broader term like learning spaces to capture this wider range of venues for teaching and learning”

Brown, M., & Lippincott. J., (2003) Learning Spaces: More than meets the eye

  • “Once we decided on the table shape,we tested diameters of 6, 7, 9, and 10 feet. Although interviews and class observations revealed the students’ preferences for the larger tables, we found they did not facilitate between-group discussions”

Beichner, R., & Saul, J., (2003) Introduction to the SCALE-UP: Student-centered activities for large enrollment undergraduate programs, Italy, Varenna

Sloane, P., (2003) The leader’s guide to lateral thinking skills. Great Britain and United States: Kogan Page Limited.


  • Unfortunately, this is how many children feel every day in their classrooms. Whether it’s because the chairs are too big or too small, the aisles too narrow, the tables too low, or the displays too high, the message is clear: “This room was not made for you.”
  • The sad fact is that most classroom spaces are far from ideal. Perhaps they were originally designed and built with little or no consultation with the teachers who would be working in them. Or maybe they were designed for another purpose, or with tight budgetary restrictions. And while teachers probably won’t be able to transform an inadequate classroom space into an ideal one, they can make dramatic improvements.

Make the Classroom Fit the Children’s Bodies

Too many times I have watched students struggle with attention and behavior problems that were clearly the result of being in spaces that were too small, too crowded, or otherwise unsuited to their physical size.

  • Choose desks, tables, and chairs that fit the children. Check out school furniture catalogues that offer standard height and width calculations based on grade ranges. Also, consider making modifications to the furniture you currently have.
  • Plan enough space for table work. Keep in mind that when children sit at a table to work, they need “elbow room” and space to spread out materials.
  • Determine where to locate display areas. Displays meant for children should be at their eye level whenever possible.
  • Plan passageways—the aisles children use to move about the room. In general, a passageway should allow two children to walk past each other comfortably.

Plan for Children’s Special Needs

It is essential that teachers consider how the classroom design will accommodate children with special needs and help them to feel a sense of belonging in the community. To learn about a child’s needs from many perspectives, begin by having a conversation with the child, the child’s family, and the team that is developing the child’s education plan.


  • All furniture should have at least one clear purpose—and preferably more than one—that is relevant to children’s development and the curriculum.
  • All furniture should be actively used for some part of each day—and preferably for most of each day.
  • Children should be able to move safely and easily around any furniture in the room.
  • All furniture should be easy to clean and allow for easy cleaning of the room.
  • All furniture should be in good condition and be safe for children to use.

Within certain reasonable boundaries, there are likely not right or wrong decisions; but there are decisions that do or do not align with the learning organization’s goals, mission, vision and values; as well as decisions that may or may not support an individual teacher’s personal identity, educational philosophy and goals for the learning environment.

If you are an educator, consider the following ten “design decisions” and how they do or do not align with your own goals and organization’s mission and core values.  These are not necessarily distinct categories.  Many classrooms, for example, blend them or even redesign the classroom space at different times of the school year.

1) Disciplinary Decor – This approach seeks to fill the room with visuals that focus upon the primary subject or discipline that learners study in the course.  It can range from posters and key quotes (focused on American history or physics, for example), or it can go so far as to create an entire Disney-esque theme room: a medieval library (history or English), King Arthur’s round table (seminary for English), a rain forest (science), an office for a newspaper or magazine (journalism / writing) a or an architectural firm (geometry).

2) Truth, Beauty & Goodness – This approach may continue a theme that focuses upon a specific discipline, but other aspects of the space also seek to demonstrate connections across disciplines, all with the broad focus of highlighting art, quotes, and other artifacts that direct students to that which is true, good, and beautiful; the threefold focus of one grounded in a liberal arts understanding of the world.

3) Teacher’s Interests, Credentials and/or Style – This is common in many of the middle and high school classes that I visit, as well as the offices of University professors.  It may include framed diplomas, family photos, and memorabilia related to the teacher’s favorite athletic teams, musical preferences, hobbies, and other interests.  It is a way for the teacher to share a bit of self with the class.  At the same time, some argue that this places the focus upon the teacher, and it does little to invite the students into an educational conversation.  It “brands” the room as Mr. or Mrs. _______’s room, but what does it do to make it a place of deep and meaningful learning?  Proponents argue that it serves an important purpose of building positive relationships with the students.

4) The Classroom Canvas – This approach leaves the classroom largely blank at the beginning of the year, but with some items that invite/guide the students in contributing elements to the visual experience of the room.  There might be a space for students to bring and post their favorite quotes about something related to the subject, or to engage in simple “show and tell” exercises where they bring an image of a relevant figure, or they help to find relevant art and other visuals in order to decorate the room.  I have seen this done where the teacher leaves the classroom canvas almost entirely open to student choice. I have seen others where the teacher provides parameter’s to thedecorating exercise.  It can be done all at once in the first week or two of the class, or it can be done gradually, having students add artifacts as they progress through different units in the course. One benefit of this approach is that the space becomes a sort of visual log or journal of the class learning journey.

5) Graphic Organizer’s and Learning Tools – This approach, like the disciplinary approach, also keeps the focus upon the area of study.  However, this one seeks to fill the walls with items that aid in student learning: timelines (filled out or that the class fills out as the year progresses), lists of key concepts and terms, taxonomies, compare and contrast charts (completed or filled out as the class progresses), tips for success (related to a critical skills in the class like research, writing an essay, reading for understanding, etc.), Venn Diagrams, maps, and any number of infographics that help students connect the dots in one or more aspects of the course. The teacher(s) and students then use and reference these items throughout the school year.

6) Connecting School-wide Goals and Values with the Individual Course – It is easy for students to see school as a collection of largely disconnected courses. In addition, students in many schools are not even aware of that the school likely has school-wide goals, things that all graduates are expected to know or be able to do upon graduation.  Instead, they just see school as passing a list of required classes.  To combat this and promote a more holistic understanding of the learning goals in a school, some teachers create visual reminders in their room.  They might post the school-wide goals, the mission statement, and possibly the core values.  They might also add quotes and images that help students to see how the specific course or content area fits into and supports these overarching school elements.  If enough teachers join in this effort, it can be a powerful means of developing a shared vocabulary, and a common vision.  It can even aid in cultivating a distinct educational ethos throughout the school.

7) The Student Hall of Fame – This approach highlight the people who came before the current students. It might include examples of previous student’s best work, what they are doing now, short quotes and words of advice written to the current students, and explanations of how & what they learned in the class helped them later in life.

8) Etch a Sketch – If you have used one of these toys, then you know it is a device that lets you draw something and then erase it quickly in order to draw something new.  This is the same concept behind the etch a sketch classroom, creating a room that is largely a blank slate. Instead, it is rich with whiteboards, interactive whiteboards, and other surfaces that allow the teacher(s) and students to brainstorm, draw, design, erase and start all over again the next day, week, unit, or month. In the digital age, where 1:1 environments are more common, some teachers leverage the devices for this part of the classroom experience, freeing up the walls for one of the other elements.  Still others like this approach because it is flexible, tactile, dynamic, and like The classroom canvas approach, students help to create the visual experience.

9) The Interactive Classroom – This approach may blend with any one of the others, but it seeks to cultivate space(s) and an experience that is multi-sensory and invites students to interact with the space/items. This might range from creating dedicated centers for different student activities to designing the room a bit like an interactive science museum or library: books and other technologies that students can borrow, unique items they can hold and manipulate, discipline-specific brain teasers…things that engage the mind and senses. It also allows the teachers to hide (in plain sight) artifacts and objects that they will use at later units in the course for object lessons, tools for labs and experiments, etc.

10) Inspiration & Encouragement – This room does not focus upon a specific theme or discipline as much as it focuses upon attributes of a successful learner.  This is the room with quotes, posters and other artifacts that encourage and inspire students to persevere, work hard, be a person of character and integrity, or to set high goals and strive for excellence. This might connect with any number of the previous approaches (especially the Hall of Fame, The School-Wide Goals focus, or the Disciplinary Room).

Ultimately, when it comes to setting up the physical space, the goal is to create a room that encourages and invites the students into deep and meaningful learning, and any of these approaches can help, including a blend of several of them.  Perhaps you have experienced or tried one or more of these. If so, please consider sharing your thoughts and experiences in a comment or by sending me a quick message.


Students need spaces to move freely  because they prefer to move around to share thoughts and you have the confined feeling it causes to make you feel unproductive.

Students need the relieve from stressful conditions because it makes the students worry for the other things becoming to ignore the learning opportunities.

Students need sturdy fixtures to make most of the function of it because having broken fixtures ultimately defeats its purpose to acquire students’ learning.

Students need some security from injury due to activeness in class because it can become huge issue between the school and the parents of the  student.

Students  need a space to relax and think for themselves because it promotes active process of creativity, resulting to motivate themselves.

Students  need to be able to share their knowledge because collaboration is much important while it achieves learning rapidly than studying alone individually.

Students need a source of inspirations because having a quick browsing instrument could enhance their researching ability a lot sharper and more observant.

Students need mobile wall spaces to be able to improve discussions even more easier and able to communicate visually because it does make change than flicking through students’ works.

Students need clean and physically pleasing multi-functional  table to achieve excitement to learn because it makes a better image of a classroom space into more engaging environment.

needs & insights

Physical Needs

Dependable learning service
Active Environment
Open Space
Smart Technology
Positive Aura
Quick Set-up features
Robust Fixtures
Reliable Information
Silent Enclosure

Emotional Needs



Students need to be able to move freely in the classroom premises because they prefer to move around to discover, talk, and collaborate.

Students need to relieve from stressful conditions because the environment from other classes pressures them with other subjects.

Students need sturdy fixtures for them to use over the years because it is economical for the school.

Students are prone to accidents due to activeness in the class, so they must be able to avoid harmful obstacles along the classroom space.

Students  need to acquire some quiet space to concentrate because it helps the creativity going.

Students  need to able to share their thoughts because it promotes equally distributed knowledge in class.

Students  find their skills in the duration of their learning through interacting with teachers, fixtures or features so they need some kind of a mobile board to be able to recall their research and thoughts.

Students find the tables unpleasant to see because some other students show neglectfulness and carelessness to fixtures through boredom.

Students find some ways to inspire themselves to keep track with their work, they need as easy accessible form of research instrument to boost their learning capabilities.

herman miller.



As a long-time sustainability practitioner and advocate, we believe:

  • Good design can provide a foundation for sustainability and set the stage for building a greener campus.
  • Education is a powerful tool; supporting and nurturing a new generation of environmentally conscious citizens will benefit us all.
  • We all need to work together to create a more sustainable world.
  • “How do we best reach future generations of students?” asks Dr. Paaige Turner
  • The nature of each learning studio varies from school to school, but all are designed to support new teaching methodologies and contemporary students—those who learn best when not forced to sit in rows and raise their hands.
  • “Research before and after the transformation reveals how well faculty and students are adapting to the space” Jeff Vredevoogd, Director of Herman Miller Education
  • “We want to give schools a way to try new approaches on a small scale before making big decisions about learning space design.”
  • “Textbooks used to be our only resource,” Dr. Turner says. “Students today live in a world with multiple points of information, so our classrooms must be able to pull from multiple sources as well.”
  •  Instructors, untethered to the front of the room, are free to roam and give individual help. Students seem more willing to ask questions when they don’t have to speak in front of the whole class. And learning takes place from peer to peer, not just teacher to student.
  • “They wanted us to look more at behavior—how people interact with technology and space,” says Patel, who is working toward a graduate degree in Interactive Design.
  • The nine students divided into groups and immersed themselves in the culture and space of environments that spring from the idea of “the office” as a state of mind, rather than a specific space: coworking spaces, hacker spaces, in-house innovation labs, or design consultancies. “Overall, we wanted to know how the people in these spaces work day to day. What are their values and social norms? What are the work practices in spaces of innovation?” says Shilpi Kumar, the Herman Miller senior researcher who headed up the project.
  • The students were better able to understand how Herman Miller might use their ethnographic research. “There was no real problem to solve on this project,” says Kumar. “We wanted to discover more about places that encourage creativity, the places creative people are drawn to and why.”
  • Herman Miller was pleased that, in the process of learning about ethnography, the students were able to offer some fresh insights about innovative spaces. “This program is about giving back,” says Kumar, and giving students an opportunity they wouldn’t otherwise have. “It’s all about their learning, not ours.”