Focus on Technology: Build the Perfect Teaching Station

The perfect teaching station reflects the needs of the faculty; the facilities design group, and the technology maintenance people at the educational facility for which it is built.

The instructors need a simple, no-hassle, minimal maintenance system that feels like it is designed for them personally. Facilities design also wants a simple, no-hassle affair, ideally low cost, installed on schedule, coordinated with the building systems and never in need of servicing or replacing. Technologies maintenance will be looking for good security features and uniformity from room to room.

To meet these diverse requirements we start by asking lots of questions to define the functions and the issues. Should the station be a place to store equipment? Podium for the instructor? Work table? Lab table? Where does it go? What is the ideal size? How should it be constructed? What materials should be used? What are the human factors?

The answers to these and other questions enable us to start homing in on the design process. Consider location and size: Depending on space and connections options, the station might live out in the classroom, or be hidden in a wall or storage area (in which case it must be movable). It needs to be large enough to accommodate all equipment, yet not overwhelm the presenter or take up too much space, and it must be wheelchair accessible.

Computers, AV, lighting, security, control systems and other equipment require additional decisions including connectivity. Keeping things comfortable and accessible is important. This includes sitting and standing ergonomics, sightlines, arm reach and ADA issues.

Moving toward the construction stage, materials choices include laminates over plywood, wood, plastic and metal. Rack systems can be rear-access, pullout, wallmount or shelves. We create renderings, fine-tune and create perspectives and then detailed drawings. After the design is refined, it’s time for the real thing.