The Hamilton-Wenham Edfund is pleased to announce an exciting new grant to the Hamilton Wenham High School: $15,000 towards flexible, mobile, and collaborative, furniture for the 21st Century Classroom. A supremely creative idea from Assistant Principal, Bryan Menegoni, that liberates our teachers and students with newfound mobility in the classroom.

The time has come.

Our high school was built in 1962 and was constructed to reflect the very latest in teaching methodology for the time: the lecture format, and everything that goes with it. Teacher stands at the front of the class and does the talking. Students sit in their fixed seats and do not talk, they listen.

Fast-forward through the Beatles, disco, then puffed up hair, on through the grunge era, past the early 2000's techno, and to today's Lady Gaga, and times have certainly changed. Education has radically changed, too. It's less about lectures and memorizing. It's more about collaboration, working together, and creativity.

Pilot program to bring one classroom into the 21st Century.

The Edfund has granted a pilot program, where one classroom will be outfitted with Verb tables and Node chairs designed to be moved, reconfigured, and otherwise staged to amplify collaboration.

Teachers can now easily configure the classroom to reflect the kind of learning required, on a minute-by-minute basis.

Could put them into a circle for group discussions:

Or break out into groups for project work:

Or lecture format (sometimes a lecture is just what is needed):

The flexibility these moveable tables and chairs will provide our teachers and students is infinite. No longer must they conform to the oppressive rigidity of the early 1960s.

The furniture is on order and should be installed within the next month or so (and may not look exactly like the pictures above). If the teachers and students respond well to this pilot program, the school will convert more classrooms going forward within their normal operating budget.

As Assistant Principal, Bryan Menegoni put it:

Classroom furniture that is flexible, mobile, and comfortable empowers our teachers and students to transform the environment to suit the needs of the work in which they are engaged. We are excited that our partnership with the Edfund will allow us to pilot the Verb Tables and Node Chairs so that our school and community can learn about the benefits of a responsive, 21st century learning space.

Menegoni's grant proposal provided the Edfund Board with a very creative "work-around" to the fixed reality of an old high school. We congratulate him for the grant, and you can too on Twitter (@bmenegoni), if you like.

Advantage granted.

We will be sure to report back the feedback from this grant once the school has had some time with it.