Be amazed by students’ classroom upgrades

FEBRUARY 23, 2016 / Articles

A classroom upgrade competition open to OneSchool students across Australia and New Zealand has produced sensational designs, and proved the power of real-world learning opportunities.

Competition champions David Heath (Westmount National Leadership Team) and Lloyd Bartlett (School Management Team - Australia) praised the creativity, collaboration and project management skills evidenced by all the students who took part. 

“There’s been a huge amount of work done in just under three months – all self-directed by the students. They’ve demonstrated their ability to take a brief, apply it to their unique situations, and come up with stunning designs.”

Mr Heath and Mr Bartlett also acknowledged the hard work put in by their co-judges from Australia and New Zealand:

  • Aza Powell and Levi Murray – Westmount national student leaders in 2015
  • Phil Muir – Westmount Regional Principal (Northern Region)
  • Barbara Bannister – Australian Regional Principal (NSW)

The competition required students to follow four rules:

  1. To be initiated / run by Year 7-10.
  2. Limit to one classroom per campus.
  3. Professional or skilled tradesmen not too involved.
  4. Work within a budget of $1500

Their upgrades were judged on three focus areas:

  1. Transformation – overall visual appeal, degree of transformation, innovation / creativity.
  2. Clarity and understanding of ‘learning zones’ – collaborative, semi-collaborative, and focussed – the usability and relevance of furniture, use of colours / surfaces / style, design reflecting Self-Directed Learning principles.
  3. Video Presentation – technical quality, direction, presentation skills.

The process had multiple outcomes:

  • Behaviours instilled – perseverance, collaboration, focus.
  • Skills developed – problem-solving, teamwork, creativity, working to a brief and budget, construction, and presentation.
  • New modern learning environments delivered.
  • OneSchool Global collaboration in action.


The winning designs

Australia – Wide Bay Campus, Queensland


New Zealand – Waikato Campus



Australia – Jointly awarded to Woodthorpe Gnowangerup Campus, Western Australia


and Glenvale Nathalia Campus, Victoria




New Zealand – Dunedin Campus



Innovation Award

This special award to Cardinia Campus recognises a project that went “above and beyond” the criteria in transforming an under-utilised outdoor area into a modern learning environment



Highly commended – New Zealand

Westmount - Gisborne Campus



Highly commended - Australia

MET – Orange Campus


Agnew – Brisbane Campus


Agnew – Darling Downs Campus        


Oakwood – Launceston Campus


Oakwood – Devonport Campus




Self-Directed Learning facilitates students taking responsibility for their own learning with the encouragement of their teachers. The benefits of Self-Directed Learning are numerous and far-reaching. It promotes a natural development of self-confidence, perseverance, initiative and accountability. It encourages learning by exploiting breakdown or failure. It enables students to learn from each other, and to become lifelong learners.

The approach affects not only the way we teach, but the facilities in which we teach. Our view is that a modern learning environment needs to be functional and flexible in design, with zones for different types of learning:  

  • Collaborative zone (YELLOW) - usually a central area of the room and near doorways, etc. where activity would be more common, and would be used for conversational learning and group work.
  • Semi-collaborative zone (GREEN) - used for smaller groups, eg one-on-one.
  • Focused zone (BLUE) - usually at the room perimeter or one side of a room, and for focused study.