Ellyn Linton visits Steelcase Headquarters in Grand Rapids.

By: Ellyn Linton, Director of Learning for Education Solutions 

I had the pleasure of being able to attend product dealer school for Steelcase in Grand Rapids, MI.  Luckily, I was able to enjoy all that Steelcase headquarters had to offer, even in the middle of January!  New sales team members and interior designers from Steelcase dealers across the United States gathered to meet for one full week of training, discussion and endless buffets of fabulous food!  We all left feeling a little closer having acquired more knowledge than we did when we arrived.

As part of the education team at Scott Rice Office Works (a Steelcase dealer in Kansas City), I was mostly curious about classroom solutions and active learning environments.  What stood out to me was the Steelcase story surrounding the design of classroom environments that support the changing nature of student expectations while still embracing the culture of social networks.  The needs of students are being met with agile learning spaces that allow for comfort, flexibility and open sightlines to the instructor.  Personalized learning is being practiced more than ever before and Steelcase has made the lives of teachers and students much easier with their products.

Not only did I see solutions for students, Steelcase takes the idea of a ‘teacher hub’ to a whole new level!  As a former teacher myself, I was thrilled to see the importance of collaboration amongst educators be at the forefront of design!  The residential feel makes planning, sharing and discussions with fellow teachers a highlight during their busy day.  The constant feeling of isolation teachers often feel when they have free time has been solved for and I wish all schools had access to these solutions!  Bright colors and energizing patterns were scattered throughout spaces to encourage inspiration, respite or collaboration.  Being in the classroom is a rewarding experience but cannot be done without the right support both physically and emotionally.  It is vital that we bring wellbeing into our schools to support our teachers and all of the hard work they put into making an enjoyable experience for their students.

It was evident that Steelcase relies on their research team to understand the latest trends and pedagogies in education.  Because of this research, Steelcase provides appropriate solutions for every work mode that students and teachers will experience in the classroom.  I was so pleased to see spaces being designed that solve for the gaps we are seeing in today’s schools as a result of unlimited access to technology and lack of student engagement.  As education trends evolve, I can confidently say that Steelcase will be a leader when it comes to the future design of our schools and classrooms as we foster the next generation of problem solvers and decision makers!

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