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Is your classroom environment helping or hindering learning?

If learning was an Olympic sport, with teams of coaches, nutritionists, data analysts and physiotherapists supporting our learners, we’d be top of the league tables in this universe and the next.

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Clearly this won’t ever happen, but what if we applied just some of the rigorous analysis enjoyed by elite athletes to our learning environments? What if we all had the key performance data to create the ideal learning space at our fingertips?

That’s the thinking behind Learnometer, a clever device that measures key data in a classroom environment. Monitoring light, CO2 and air pollution levels, temperature, humidity, sound volumes and rhythms (from heaters, for example), the Learnometer enables teachers to identify problem areas and solve them to create the ideal learning environment. The Learnometer is the brainchild of Professor Stephen Heppell and his team, who are asking people to pledge their support for the project on crowd-funding website Kickstarter. Once the funding target is achieved, the Learnometer will go into production.

 

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“All the data about learning environments is out there but no-one had put it all together before,” explains Professor Heppell. “When you realise that there is a linear deterioration in performance over a certain temperature, and that the reason some students are struggling to concentrate is simply because they’re sitting in a CO2 swamp, it immediately becomes clear that we need to take this seriously. There’s a reason children love learning outside; it’s because of the light, the fresh air and the acoustics.”

Nowhere is educational performance more important than in the examination hall. Professor Heppell’s team visited 56 exam halls to measure their data. Not one was providing a good environment; most were actually putting students at a disadvantage.

Even in a ‘normal’ classroom the benefits of providing a better environment are immediate. “One school we worked with had a classroom with a pretty damning data set,” says Professor Heppell. “So, they chucked out the IWB, painted the walls in light-reflecting paint and refurnished. When they looked at the data before and after they couldn’t believe the difference. The teachers who were based in that room had the highest level of staff absence beforehand, and after the refurbishment they weren’t sick any more. They also found the kids in that classroom had been the worst performing because of their environment, that also changed when the space improved.”

“Making learning environments better is why Spaceoasis exists, so we’re really excited by this project,” commented Spaceoasis managing director, Simon Hick. “It’s amazing that something as simple as adjusting the temperature or increasing light levels can have a measurable impact on learning outcomes, so having the power of Learnometer’s knowledge in your corner is a fantastic idea. We’ve pledged our support on Kickstarter and we’d urge others to do the same so this project can take off.”

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The data from the Learnometer can be uploaded to the Cloud or downloaded to a data stick, so you can instantly access your data and see how your environment is performing.

Learnometers come in a variety of models with various levels of connectivity.

Find out more by visiting www.kickstarter.com and searching for Learnometer.

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