Architecture of classrooms 

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Personal observation and informal interviews

To analyze the pedagogical activities of students, spatial usage, the impact of lighting on students’ behavior and learning, and user preferences of students and teachers, the data was collected through qualitative methods like interviews with teachers and classroom observations (fig.10). On 11th April 2022, two fourth-grade teachers in Iggesund Skola were interviewed regarding their teaching methods, pedagogical activities in class conducted for different subjects, and student learning behavior.
For personal observations, on the 12th and 13th April 2022, students and teachers were monitored while they continued their normal curricular activities and routines during four courses – Maths, Social Science, Natural science, and English. With the help of Observation logs (Dunn and Shriner 1999), data regarding the pedagogical activities in class, visual tasks, spatial movement and organization, lighting preferences and needs of students and teachers, use of shading devices, behavior and responses of students during different activities were recorded. The author also analyzed seven factors of the V/P Theory (Liljefors 1999) on a five-point scale to evaluate the visual perception of the space during different times for various activities. Personal observations further included observing the lighting typology, placement and controls used and preferred by the users in the spaces across different times of the day for different activities.

Flexibility in classrooms

Flexibility in classrooms can be divided into adaptability (long term changes), adjustability (medium term changes) and agility (short term changes). For long term changes, changes in pedagogical goals, school’s educational vision, and teaching techniques should be considered while also adapting to accommodate more students in future. For medium and short-term changes, the classrooms should have the ability to reconfigure and adjust to make different spatial arrangements for a variety of uses by manipulating elements inside the room and shall be agile where teachers can respond to the needs of the students quickly and easily by rearranging the furniture layout and the IT equipment such as projectors and display screens (Duthilleul et al. 2020).

Lighting in Classrooms

In a study conducted by Goven et al. in 2010, brighter lighting (500 lux) was found to have more positive effects than standard lighting (300 lux) on primary school children’s reading, writing, and mathematics. Apart from the intensity of light, Correlated color temperature (CCT) of lighting also influences students’ learning performance. Researchers have found that lighting of different CCTs (4000K and 17000 K) positively impacts children’s physical growth and development, attendance, alertness, and academic achievement (Rautkyla et al. 2010).

Light distribution

Henning Larsen Architects conducted a field study of several Danish schools. They concluded that artificial lighting in those schools mainly consisted of uniformly lit classrooms with large windows in most classrooms to enhance the visual quality of the indoor environment by maximizing the natural lighting (Hofmeister 2020). Since artificial lighting is needed to supplement the natural lighting for most of the year due to Denmark’s geographical location and prolonged hours of darkness, the high levels of uniformity result in a dull and one-fits-all ambiance that offers little visual variation. Although, pupils’ visual acuity is supported by this type of lighting, however, the attempts to enhance the visual quality of the indoor environment by bringing in daylight are diminished. This raises the question of how to apply artificial lighting to improve the visual quality of the learning environment and support pupils’ learning (Hofmeister 2020).
By thoroughly illuminating spaces with a uniform light that makes everything visible, nothing is emphasized, creating a lack of visual interest with no support for orientation and spatial understanding (Wanstrom Lindh 2013).
In another study by Henning Larsen Architects, impact of three light settings on students was studied and compared – uniformly lit classroom with ceiling lights, pendant lights for workspaces and a combination of pendant lights with ceiling lights in a classroom. In the pendant lights setting, pools of light were observed with relatively darker surroundings. It could be said that these stimulate intimate spaces within the larger space. This was believed to intuitively draw pupils’ attention inwards, bounded by each pool, and nurture their concentration on a task. The pendant lighting could be used in combination with the ceiling lighting or on its own, providing for heavy contrast. The study’s findings also suggested that the pendant lighting contributed to reduced noise levels and hence, greater student concentration. Pupils were more prone to stay in their chosen seats for a longer period and wander about less, suggesting the pools of light kept their attention more local. The learning environment was quieter and calmer and could particularly benefit those pupils who were generally easily distracted or displayed disruptive behavior. This would ultimately benefit the entire pupil group. In essence, pendant lighting seems to encourage pupil behavior that results in a calmer environment and less distraction (Hofmeister 2020).

Variable Lighting

Barkmann et al. in 2012 found that variable lighting, i.e., lighting that is variable in illuminance and color temperature, optimized the general learning conditions and performance of students in schools. The study analyzed the effects of seven predefined programs of Schoolvision system by Philips and concluded that out of the seven programs (Standard, Concentrate, Board only, Focus on Board, Active, Relax, extremely relax) primarily « Concentrate », « Activate » and « Relax » were used. The results showed that the students made fewer errors under the VL « Concentrate » program and their reading speed rose significantly. Additionally, the teachers liked the option of visually separating individual sections of the lesson. However, several teachers wished for a fewer number of programs and a program with even warmer light (Barkmann et al.,2012). Furthermore, incorporating variable lighting allows for long term, medium and short-term flexibility and caters to the individual needs of the students.

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Summary of Results from Personal Observations and informal interviews

• Multiple activities were conducted in every course: instructions by teacher, discussions with teacher, individual tasks, group activities, discussions amongst the group, and watching movies/videos. A component of cooperative learning is always present in all activities, be it individual tasks or group work. The students used a variety of study materials: books, worksheets, drawing paper, laptops. They were divided into two groups for group activities, one group remained in main classroom and the other group was sent to secondary classroom. Shifting from one classroom to another during a course is refreshing for students and makes them more active although, it can be a cause of distraction for some.
• Furniture layout in both classrooms mostly remained the same during observation period, however, organization of the groups changed from time to time (sometimes 5 students working together, sometimes 6, or 2).
• Four digital screens were present in main classroom, no digital screens in secondary classroom. Screens were too bright on most occasions. Most of the teaching in main classroom happened through the digital screens. They used a stylus to write on the screens.
• General lighting in both classrooms was dimmable. Pendant dome in main classroom was dimmable, but pendant dome in secondary classroom was not dimmable. Teacher mostly controlled electric lighting in the main classroom. Most preferred dimming levels by both students and teachers were 50% (general lighting and pendant light) during a discussion or an activity. The students preferred to sit under the pendant dome light. Electric lights were switched off when they watched movies and videos on digital screens. The students mostly controlled electric lighting in secondary classroom. When teachers came to check up for doubts, they also analyzed if the lighting levels were sufficient and asked the students if they needed more lighting. The preferred lighting levels of general lighting varied throughout the day. However, in this classroom, the pendant dome light did not seem to significantly influence students because its suspended height was too close to the ceiling.
• During transition of activities in a course, the focus frequently shifted from one point to the other – focus from teacher (in front) to digital screens on the wall, to textbooks on the table, to their laptop screens (actively used for multiple activities) and to their peers for discussions. (Vertical and horizontal surfaces).
• Both classrooms have soothing exterior views to the landscape which could help students restore their attention. Since the blinds were usually down the entire day, the students did not engage with exterior views.
• In general, energy of the students went up as the day started, peaked after the lunch break, and eventually went down by the end of the day. However, their attention was maximum at the beginning of the day and gradually went down as the day progressed with a slight increase after the lunch break. Furthermore, when students were calm, they were observed to be more focused.

Photometry and color metrics

LED Panels are used for general lighting. The SPD shows that the red wavelength emitted is low (fig. 33). To accentuate the oval table, a custom-made pendant dome luminaire is used. It emits a low blue light as compared to 600nm yellowish orange (fig. 34) and hence, has a yellowish light. The whiteboard lighting was never used for any of the courses during the personal observations. Moreover, it’s position is off-centre, and its light only covers a small part of the whiteboard surface. Although all fixtures have an overall Ra greater than 80, the rendering indices show that rendering index of red color is extremely low (fig. 33,34 & 35).

Table of contents :

1. Introduction 
2. Background and Research question 
3. Methodology
3.1. Method 1: Literature review
3.2. Method
2: Personal observations and informal interviews 
3.3. Method
3: Measurements
3.4. Method
4. Result and Analysis 
4.1. Literature review
4.2. Architecture of classrooms
4.3. Personal Observations & Interviews
4.4. Measurements
4.5. Simulations
5. Design Proposal and Comparison 
6. Discussion and Conclusion 
7. References 


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