Learning environments

Martela and FCLab develop learning facilities of the future

What is Future Classroom Lab?

Future Classroom Lab is a project that studies, experiments with and develops various technologies and furniture related to learning environments, as well as developing opportunities offered by open learning environments in teaching and learning. The project focuses on learning zones, which have been determined based on key qualities that promote learning in a learning environment and on the special features of the Finnish national curriculum.

Located at the University of Tampere Teacher Training School , KAKS10 56 is one of the three Future Classroom Labs in Finland. KAKS10 56 is a flexible learning environment for two classes, as well as being the school’s resource centre.

Ensuring favourable conditions for learning through sensor technology

The cooperation between Martela and Future Classroom Lab started about a year ago. Martela installed various types of sensors in KAKS10 to measure the qualities of the learning environment (sound volume, carbon dioxide, temperature, humidity, air pressure, etc.), as well as the placement of pupils and their choices of workstations (thermal imprint). This technology makes it possible to carry out research and experiments in the learning facility that are unique in terms of the scope in Finland.

One of the key goals is to study and obtain verified data on how pupils use and benefit from a flexible learning environment. Another key goal is to monitor various qualities of the learning environment, such as sound volume and the amount of carbon dioxide. Loud noises or poor air quality make it difficult, if not impossible, for pupils to focus and learn. Thermal imprint and placement are monitored using anonymous detectors that the pupils carry around with them during the day at school.

“Our goal is to help schools and municipalities to make well-informed decisions when designing learning facilities and choosing furniture in their construction and renovation projects. For Martela, leading the way in work and learning environments also means agile experimentation in cooperation with our customers. This creates appropriate conditions for designing and implementing intelligent facilities that best match future ways of teaching and learning,” says Tytti Ruponen, Head of Service Design & Development at Martela.

Experiences from the first few months

The sensor system was installed in the learning environment in May 2019, and it was taken into full use in autumn 2019. The experiences gained during the first phase have been interesting.

“The research data we have collected supports preconceived notions of what types of learning spaces and furniture pupils prefer. There are quite significant differences between pupils in what type of place they choose for learning, but most pupils prefer a soft and informal place. Sofa sets, auditoriums, the floor and various narrow nest-like spaces seem to be particularly popular. However, some pupils prefer to work traditionally at a desk. Of the 43 pupils in the group, a few select a place based on the soundscape and seek to work in a location that is as silent as possible,” say Mikko Horila and Tuomo Tammi from Future Classroom Lab.

The social environment also plays a key role in choosing a place: a relatively large portion of pupils seem to eventually make choices that are in line with those of their friends.
Making use of the results of the experiment

Space design and furniture choices play a major role in creating functional and comfortable facilities. Research and experimentation are important, as there continues to be little research information about the effects of space and furniture solutions on learning. In the current experiment, data will be collected for at least twelve months, and the experiment is intended to continue until the end of the 2020 spring term, if not longer.

Interested? Get in touch!
Mikko Horila
Future Classroom Ambassador
Teacher trainer, University of Tampere
Tuomo Tammi
Future Classroom Ambassador
Teacher trainer, University of Tampere
Tytti Ruponen
Head Of Service Design & Development, Martela
+358 50 3948606
Sirpa Vaarmala
Sales Director, Martela
+358 10 345 5225

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