Optimize Learning Outcomes

Visually Complex Classrooms Bad for Learning (05-29-14)

Classrooms should not be visually complex.  As researchers from Carnegie Mellon report “Maps, number lines, shapes, artwork and other materials tend to cover elementary classroom walls. However, new research . . . shows that too much of a good thing may end up disrupting attention and learning in young children.” Fisher, Godwin, and Seltman learned that “children in highly decorated classrooms were more distracted, spent more time off-task and demonstrated smaller learning gains than when the decorations were removed.”

More Evidence Greening Schoolyards a Good Idea (03-07-14)

Previous research has shown that educational advantages accrue when vegetation is visible through school windows (for example, see Designing for Play).  Kelz and her colleagues “investigated the influence of a redesign (greening) of a [middle school] schoolyard on pupils’ [average age 14.4 years] physiological stress, psychological well-being, and executive functioning.” Research was conducted at three schools in rural Austria and “The renovated schoolyard significantly diminished pupils’ physiolog