Hot Tips (Power Distribution)

How to Increase Access to Power in the Classroom

Most students use mobile electronics to learn. With that, students are more often finding themselves in difficult situations where they’re watching their smart phone, laptop and tablet batteries drain without an accessible power outlet nearby. The trend contributes to a rising epidemic of disengagement and lack of focus in the classroom.

Installing power sources can be costly and time consuming. Traditional construction methods like trenching, coring and raising floors can render classrooms unusable for extended periods of time. Often the cost is prohibitive. An alternative solution can be found in ultra-thin power grids laid seamlessly under carpet. This option is designed to provide learning spaces with power where and when students and instructors need it. Unlike other techniques, it requires no upheaval of existing structures and is a simpler and cost-efficient power distribution system.

Steelcase Research has revealed that 70 percent of students are taking notes on laptops instead of paper. In higher education, this number is even larger, as 95 percent of institutions allow mobile devices in classrooms. Not surprisingly, 20 percent of college students say it is difficult to charge their devices on campus. While schools are attempting to be “bring your own device friendly,” their classrooms and other campus spaces lack the easy connection to available electricity.

People need technology and technology needs power. As we ask how we can better meet student’s needs, we need to consider the spaces they are using. Instead of making students go to the power source, let’s bring the power to them and create more efficient, less distracting learning environment.

>> Through evidence-based design, technology and innovative solutions, Steelcase Education is focused on helping schools create the most effective, rewarding and inspiring active learning environments.

This article originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of School Planning & Management.

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