Chair-a-Mez- The Best Furniture Piece for Interactive Classrooms
Having been involved in architectural education for a long time, the idea of an interactive class room
comes to me naturally. An interactive class room was defined for me by Dr. Sugata Mitra of NIIT
(now Prof. of Educational Technology at Newcastle University, England) who was helping me design
the furniture for NIIT University, as one
- Where learners can be guided by one or more instructor at the same time
- Where multiple channels and technologies can be used simultaneously
- Where learners can work in groups
- Where each learner is also a teacher
- Where laboratory, theory and lecture, problem solving and tutorial can all be combined
- Where independent demonstrations and discussions are possible
- Where learners can exhibit their work
- Where learners can freely exchange information
- Make physical models in a design studio for architecture or product design, one goes further and
one can also
- Conduct experiments
- Make and view large drawing.
The class room furniture I designed for NIIT University in 2008 was a refined version of furniture
commonly used in many universities. Upon seeing the furnished class room, Prof. M.P. Kapoor (then
vice chancellor) decided to use another kind of chair with a tablet attached, something that would
allow him to reconfigure class room layouts as needed. It took me many years to design Chair-a-Mez,
a better piece of educational furniture that would meet all his requirements.
Looking at the new pedagogical requirements of college class rooms particularly for professional
education like architecture, engineering or management, it seems to me that they all ought to be
interactive learning spaces. They need furniture that is flexible and that meets each of the
requirements listed above. School class rooms probably need all of the above and they have the
additional requirement that they need to accommodate users of different age groups.
Chair-a-Mez meets all of the requirements listed above. It is made of recycled and recyclable
materials. It has a chair and a small table that can be coupled and de-coupled at will and stacked for
storage and for daily cleaning of the class room. It allows re configuration of layouts without much
effort, has no moving parts and the tables can be put together to make larger tables.
The ergonomic design is good for writing, reading or work on a laptop. Simply put it is the best
furniture available anywhere for interactive class rooms.
Chair-a-Mez will transform pedagogy in schools and in colleges.