Outdoor Classroom Overview and Supplies
Outdoor classroom options are becoming so important for schools and education programs for so many reasons such as connecting to nature, getting clean air, improving motor skills, reducing potential disease transmission, and more. But what exactly does an outdoor classroom entail and what is needed to create an outdoor learning space? This article will cover all that and more.
Article Table of Contents
What does outdoor classroom mean?
An outdoor classroom refers to an outdoor learning space. It is an outdoor area that is used for learning. The term outdoor classroom typically refers to a specific designated learning space outdoors. But it could also refer to the general outdoors as a learning space, such as when students are taken to various outdoor spaces for learning purposes. So, if a teacher decides to have “outdoor classroom” time, that may involve taking the students outside around campus for learning or it could be taking students to a specific outdoor space that is equipped with outdoor classroom supplies.
What does an outdoor classroom need?
Outdoor classroom supply needs may vary depending on the areas of study and ages of students involved. From outdoor seating options and outdoor TV enclosures to some sort of shade or open-air shelter, there are some key elements that are helpful for a dedicated outdoor classroom.
Below is a list of potential supplies to consider if you’re looking to create outdoor learning spaces.
Outdoor Classroom Supplies:
- Tables or desks
- Outdoor TV enclosure for a classroom TV
- Games and activities
- Balance beams
- Planter beds and gardens
- Science supplies like thermometers, rain gauges, wind vanes, and barometers
How do you set up an outside classroom?
Here are some common actions to take when setting up an outdoor classroom:
1) Research and understand the value of it
2) Present your research to anyone who would need to provide approval or be involved
3) Seek funding if that is needed
4) Locate an ideal space for the classroom
5) Evaluate the conversion site and needed changes or supplies
6) Assemble a group or team to convert the space
What are the benefits of an outdoor classroom?
From behavioral, emotional, and intellectual development to physical health advantages and outdoor education, outdoor classrooms have many advantages.
Outdoor Classroom Advantages:
- Students receive the general benefits of time spent outdoors such as reduced blood pressure, better sleep, reduced obesity, reduced osteoporosis, and increased immune function ( Outdoor Nebraska)
- Students show an increased ability to pay attention ( Greater Good Magazine published by the University of California)
- Outdoor learning reduces stress (Greater Good Magazine published by the University of California)
- Increased school performance (University of Wisconsin research study)
- Supports emotional, behavioral, and intellectual development ( University of Wisconsin research study)
- Offers outdoor education and play (University of Wisconsin research study)
- Helps students develop a sense of self, independence, confidence, creativity, decision-making and problem-solving skills, empathy towards others, motor skills, self-discipline, and initiative ( University of Wisconsin research study)
- Reduce the potential transmission of viruses like Covid-19
How are TVs used in classrooms?
Teachers use educational television programs and movies to make a connection between the show and the concept being studied in class. For example, if a specific event in history is being studied in a history class, that teacher may show a related documentary to the students. There are many learning benefits of incorporating a classroom TV.
Benefits of Using a Classroom TV:
Given the stimulating nature of television, it’s no wonder students are more likely to stay focused and pay attention when TVs are incorporated into lessons ( WGU). The article, “Using television to educate, stimulate, and disseminate,” ( Curriculum & Leadership Journal) suggests many additional benefits as well such as that students are much more likely to retain the knowledge gained from television programs than from lectures alone, students have a better understanding of the topic, and students participate in more discussion on the content. The article also suggests use of a TV can expand on content being taught, satisfy a variety of learning styles, and increase student motivation to learn.
What is the best outdoor classroom TV solution?
An outdoor TV enclosure paired with a TV or digital display is a great classroom TV solution. This is a solution that can be left outside continuously. An enclosure can house not just the TV but other devices as well such as a thumb drive, Roku, mini-PC, or Apple TV. There are even outdoor touch screen options. Protective Enclosures Company is a top trusted provider of enclosures for outdoor electronic sign and TV cases for schools. Below is a list of enclosures for indoor and outdoor education applications.
The Display Shield –
The Display Shield ® is an affordable indoor and outdoor digital display enclosure that offers comprehensive protection for digital signage, displays, or TVs.
The TV Shield PRO –
The TV Shield PRO ™ is a weatherproof, secure, and robust protective outdoor TV enclosure and digital signage cabinet with all the bells and whistles that was researched, designed, engineered, and is manufactured in the USA. The "hybrid" design is built with a combination of lightweight aluminum and steel, which is powder-coated for the ultimate strength and durability in environmental TV protection.
The TV Shield PRO Portrait –
The TV Shield PRO Portrait ™ is a weatherproof, secure, and robust protective outdoor display enclosure that is made in the USA and built completely from triple coated steel for ultimate strength and durability. Designed for use with any standard indoor TV or digital display, it is ideal for commercial and professional markets where a monitor is needed in a vertical orientation.
The TV Shield PRO Lite –
The TV Shield PRO Lite ™ is an affordable protective TV enclosure built using lightweight aluminum for ultimate strength and durability. Perfect for indoor TV protection, or outdoor applications that need strong screen defense rather than full weatherproofing, this TV cover is ideal in high traffic buildings, lobbies, classrooms, hospitals, institutional environments, and more.
If you have questions, Protective Enclosures Company can be reached at 800-331-2628 or via contact form to send an inquiry.
Outdoor Classroom Spotlight and Example: The Turner Foundation
The innovative open-air music studio created by The Turner Foundation Music & Imagination Program (TFMI) is a great outdoor classroom example. And regarding an outdoor TV solution, here is what TFMI Director of Music Programs, David Rojas said about The Display Shield, “The top benefit is program efficiency/time saver. Being able to have a TV outside ready to go at all times for educational purposes has been significant to our success of being more productive. It’s wonderful not having to worry about students waiting while we roll a TV outside and connect everything before each lesson.”
Everything we know today about the benefits of outdoor learning is exciting and wonderful. It is one more way we can revolutionize education and improve learning for students. And as this article reveals, it’s equally amazing so many supplies and even electronics can be incorporated into outdoor classrooms. Are you excited about the future of outdoor classrooms?
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