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How Changing Classroom Design Could Change Learning In Denver

The Imaginarium beieves that a physical space, down to the kind of chairs students sit in, can affect their productivity and how easily they learn. So the district is in the early stages of a new push to redesign its classrooms, and it's working with an architect, Danish Kurani, who designs spaces for education across the U.S. and in India and Australia.

His work includes a new classroom at Denver's High Tech Elementary School in Stapleton, where administrators like Principal Amy Gile believe that kids need new skills for the new century. "We know for 21st century skills and really any career, you have to work in a team and collaborate and share ideas," Gile says, sitting in the classroom at an unusual type of desk. It has wheels, so it can move around the room, and a whiteboard on the top surface, so kids can write on it.

Elsewhere in the room, dubbed the "Collaboratory," whole walls and sections of the floor are also whiteboard material, meant to be scribbled on. Another portion of the room is painted green, with pads of the floor where kids can huddle around a screen and do a lesson over Skype. Another feature of the room is a frame for a tent, with bean bag chairs underneath.