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Collaborative design of an active learning classroom with high school students and teachers

Orcun Kepez (Department of Interior Architecture and Environmental Design, Kadir Has University, Istanbul, Turkey)
Selin Ust (Department of Interior Architecture and Environmental Design, Ozyegin University, Istanbul, Turkey)


ISSN: 2631-6862

Article publication date: 23 July 2020

Issue publication date: 11 November 2020




The aim of this study is to understand classroom settings desired by high school students and teachers in an active learning classroom. The research question is whether students and teachers will differ from each other when designing an active learning classroom.


In an effort to design a learning environment for an advanced placement programme, action research methodology was followed by conducting a participatory workshop in a real active learning classroom with future users. Working in isolation from one another, students and teachers designed their own classrooms by forming different learning centres. During the study, two groups, made up of ten high school students and seven teachers, respectively, were asked to arrange the furniture in an active learning classroom. The groups were free to form as many furniture arrangement configurations as they wished and were asked to write about their workshop experiences afterwards. Once they had completed both tasks, their plan layouts were examined.


All of the plan layouts were found to fall into one of three categories: a traditional layout, a small group layout or a single large group layout. The written texts were also analysed, which revealed different perspectives of each participating group. As students and teachers explore different learning opportunities, they appear to be driven by different kinds of experiences when they endeavour to organize their classrooms.


Never before has an active learning classroom been the site for a participatory furniture arrangement workshop that employs teachers and students.



We would like to thank participants, the administration of the high school and our research assistant Buse Rodoplu. We would also would like to thank Steelcase Education and PolyVision for their generous grants for the realization of the Steelcase Active Learning Center at Kadir Has University. Funding: Steelcase Active Learning Center was established by grants received from Steelcase Education and PolyVision (Internal Grant Numbers 2015-DK-05 and 2015-AP-04 respectively).


Kepez, O. and Ust, S. (2020), "Collaborative design of an active learning classroom with high school students and teachers", Archnet-IJAR, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 525-541.



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