What will the students study? Anything they can think of. Since the main focus of the class is to help students learn social competence, they need only be given opportunities to interact. One suggestion is to identify different zones for the students to interact in. The class should be held in the library. The area should be open spaces, preferably with multiple levels, and different areas the students can create spaces.
Makerspace zones are for students who want to learn how to make something. These students will need to plan out what they will make and what they will need to make it. They will need to propose to the Financial Committee how much the project will cost and whether there is enough in the budget for it. If additional funds are needed, the group will need to decide on an alternative project, a fundraiser, or a way to get some of the supplies donated. A petition to ask the school if it has any resources it is willing to provide is also another route the students can take.
Screen free zones are areas where students can interact without any kind of computing device. Providing little lockers for students to secure their phones will help the students separate from their devices completely. When the phone is in a pocket, it too close and can cause distraction. Students who are visiting the zone, but not as committed as others, will be tempted to break the rules, which will get them brought up before the Judiciary Committee (JC). Suggesting ways to prevent small infractions will help the groups minimize conflict.
Screen zones are areas which encourage ubiquitous online computing, and devices will be welcome here. It would be great if the school library has devices students can check out if they do not bring a device to school. In these areas, a 1:1 student to device ratio will be ideal, and students who do not have a device of their own may feel excluded from this zone. These are spaces where students will be looking up things online, and share them with the group.
SOLEs are the opposite of screen zones. Instead of an individual looking up information and then sharing it with the group, the group looks up information together to share with other SOLEs or perhaps the class meeting. There is also the possibility of them sharing their ideas with SOLEs around the world. The ratio of computers to students should be 1:4, with no mobile devices. The students in these zones will use the computers cooperatively to answer big questions. The big questions are decided by the students interacting in this zone.
Reading zones should be broken down into independent reading zones, preferably the quietest place in the class space, and group reading zones. Students should have access to books and e-readers. Reading for pleasure in the middle of a hectic school day can have many benefits. Also, research does not always have to happen online.
An ideal GenWe Classroom would have an outdoor space for students to roam freely. Some students may be more active than others and having a class where they can run around and burn extra energy may be the best thing for them. Whatever the school can provide, the students will make the best of the space. These are merely ideas to get the ball rolling. The students will have the final say on how the space is used. Use this unit as a blueprint to help you make suggestions.