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An Open Proposal for Innovation, Part Three: The No-Go Podium

The Summary

Let’s get right to it: most designs for classroom technology are based on a 20-year old paradigm of furniture, cables and pipes (and lots of equipment). While continuing to replicate these dinosaurs may serve to ensure job security (for now), this model requires heavy infrastructure that adds cost and locks the room into a rigid floor plan that does not support progressive teaching and learning practice.

A Brief History Lecture

Years ago, when the UNC faculty became interested in achieving greater flexibility (oh, how I despise that word) in the classroom, we came to understand that furniture should not be bolted down. It should be easy (or at least possible) to reconfigure the classroom floor plan to meet evolving requirements of teaching and learning.

flexibility (oh, how I despise that word) in the classroom, we came to understand that furniture should not be bolted down. It should be easy (or at least possible) to reconfigure the classroom floor plan to meet evolving requirements of teaching and learning.

Just say 'No' to Anchor Bolts We worked with our interior designer in Facilities and our KI furniture representative to identify modular student furniture that could be rearranged with greater ease. After deploying various configurations of lightweight chair-desks and modular tables and chairs, we felt we had met the challenge. We gave ourselves a good pat on the back and took a coffee break.

Then came the phone call. It went something like this:

Professor: “I cannot move the podium.”

Schuch: “Of course not! Our quality control measures include a thorough check of the anchor bolts during final inspection. No need to thank us!”

Professor: “Perhaps you missed my point.”

Schuch: “No need to apologize. If I were in your position, I would want to make sure that everything was perfect in my new classroom, as well!”

Professor: “Of course I do expect everything to be perfect, and that is why I am calling. You see, I would like to be able to move the podium. So, could you un-bolt it from the floor, perhaps?”

Schuch: (After a long pause.) “…Am I being punked?”

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