Opening Glass Walls: Reimagining the Post-Covid Classroom

By NanaWall Systems, August 25, 2022

opening glass walls in 21st century schools

Without a doubt, the Covid-19 pandemic left an influential mark on school dynamics and the way classrooms will be designed moving forward. An emphasis on relieving the mental health strain of the pandemic on children has placed a newfound, innovative approach on how academic environments are designed. At the center of it are opening glass walls. A multifaceted classroom that can change and adapt to the needs of teachers, students, and the curriculum while promoting health and wellbeing is necessary. Let’s take a look at how architects and designers are re-inventing the post-Covid classroom with design-forward solutions like moveable glass wall systems.

Opening Glass Walls and the Post-Covid Classroom

After spending nearly two years learning in virtual environments without peer-to-peer interaction, children were deprived of the invaluable skill of collaboration. As they return to school, many students will have to re-learn the skill of socialization or for some, experience it for the first time. All this can be quite overwhelming. A new way schools are combatting this is by facilitating easily accessible “pullout spaces” where kids can withdraw or engage with other classmates in a low-stress atmosphere. In addition, studies have shown that a naturally lit, well-ventilated classroom can not only improve moods but also attention spans. It is no surprise that architects are turning to expansive, dynamic fenestration like moveable glass wall systems to increase scholastic productivity and address the mental health strain of the pandemic.

moveable glass wall systems in schools

Opening Glass Walls and Biophilic Design

Biophilic design in the classroom may very well be the key to reducing academic anxiety and improving the overall mental health of students. Extensive research from the University of Illinois suggests that classrooms with views of trees and the outdoors increase student performance and decrease anxiety. This, alongside access to natural light and fresh air ventilation, create ideal learning atmospheres. With opening glass walls, schools are able to implement each of these elements and more. Large glass panels optimize the amount of natural light being filtered indoors while facilitating wide, customizable openings to maximize fresh air ventilation. The threshold between indoors and outdoors completely vanishes allowing students to immerse with nature in an authentic open-air classroom.

opening glass wall systems in school design

Why Learning Collaboration is Key

As students shift back into in-person education, the effects of virtual learning are prominent. Not only have they fallen behind in their social development but also in their ability to collaborate with others and problem solve together. In 21st Century classrooms, collaboration is one of the most important skills learned in the hopes of preparing students for jobs and careers at the end of their academic journey. However, cramped classrooms with solid wall barriers don’t offer the flexibility for collaborative-based assignments. With moveable glass wall systems, classrooms can transform on the fly based on the day's needs. Despite their size, they are easy enough to operate with one hand giving both teachers and students full control of their environments.

moveable wall systems for school design

Opening Glass Walls and the Flexible Classroom

Collaboration is key in a 21st Century classroom to ensure student success. More and more, schools are adapting a dynamic approach with furniture on wheels and opening glass walls that can move and change on the fly based on the needs of the day. When open, these systems accommodate collaborative group activities by extending the available space into underutilized hallways or the outdoors. As interior glass wall partitions, moveable glass wall systems can immediately create multiple workspaces, allowing various activities to occur at once without one interrupting the other due to their sound control benefits. The transparent panels allow light to efficiently travel within spaces and improve visibility for teachers to observe all students.

exterior glass wall systems for schools

Sound Control, Attention, and Retention

Managing the attention of students seems to be getting harder and harder. Declining attention spans, electronic devices, and even other fellow classmates are all factors that contribute to distractions and lack of information retention. Designed with the need of workplaces in mind, NanaWall opening glass walls can reach sound control levels up to a unit STC 45, decreasing sound distractions where productivity is of concern. With STC the higher the number, the greater the sound attenuation. Sound enhanced laminated glass and acoustically separated framing keep loud noises from the main work areas to ensure students remain engaged and distraction-free. All this without sacrificing slim frames and ease of operation.

acoustically rated glass wall systems for school design

The NanaWall Difference

NanaWall moveable glass wall systems are fully customizable to the needs of every academic environment. Built with the needs of teachers and students in mind, opening glass walls in academic environments offer flexibility, ease of operation, maximum transparency, and sound control ratings up to unit STC 45. As interior glass wall dividers, these systems allow floorplans to transform on the fly, and with barely-there floor tracks, it’s as if no walls existed at all. Furthermore, the latest innovations in the Generation 4 Folding Glass Wall family offer the slimmest frames in the market and wider widths with FourFold and SixFold panel sets. In exterior applications, NanaWall opening glass walls offer the security, weather performance, and thermal efficiency needed to keep students safe and comfortable all year long.

Final Thoughts

How can schools adapt to a post-Covid world? The key lies in flexible design solutions like opening glass walls that cater to the needs of teachers and the wellbeing of students. These highly durable and fully customizable systems deliver the security, transparency, and durability needed in 21st Century classrooms. Whether it be at interior glass wall partitions or exterior glass walls that invite the benefits of the outdoors alongside natural light and fresh air ventilation. Better yet, these systems can be customized with over 200 powder coating colors to best match your school colors and encourage school spirit. Did we mention the glass is dry-erase friendly, too?

Discover how other schools leverage opening glass walls in the classroom in our extensive applications page!