Students and teachers in schools implement projects of their own and participate in those organized by NGOs, schools and other entities. The basic benefit resulting from projects is gaining more knowledge on a particular subject, and expanding particular skills (usually projects involve practical tasks in which we apply the acquired knowledge). The essence of the projects is always students’ cooperation within a team. This can theoretically happen in any place in the school as well as online, but it would be good to provide a place in the school where students could meet, discuss and plan collaborative project activities.
Educational projects in the school space can be carried out in regular classrooms and online. Here we will focus only on the physical aspect of the space. The project method requires working in different configurations – usually in teams of several students responsible for particular tasks. The room where students meet and collaborate on a project should therefore enable them to work in groups and access various tools useful in planning (Wi-Fi network, flipcharts, boards, tables, etc.).
The headteacher of Middle School No. 24 in Wrocław decided to invest in creating one room arranged in a different way than traditional classrooms and devoted especially to project work. The school implemented an innovative idea. They introduced the idea of Project Fridays – each Friday various classes hold activities related to projects invented and carried out by students.
The projector displays presentations on one wall, while the wall opposite was used to hang two giant (floor to ceiling) dry-erase boards (black and white) for making notes and mental maps. This is where students can brainstorm, draw up the project schedule, etc.
Workstations were also taken into account. Students can sit at desks arranged in a horseshoe and in the middle of the room – they can relatively easily talk to one another, consult and create various configurations for the group work. Beanbags purchased for the room can be moved around. If necessary, tables can also be rearranged. Any extra aids and flipcharts can be stacked against the back wall. Students were provided with Wi-Fi access in order to use online resources in their project work. Not everything could be purchased at once (limited financial means), but the classroom is being gradually equipped with new elements. As a result, a very interesting and versatile learning environment was created and students enjoy using it.