Architecture, Education, and Manufacturing

Furniture maker offers classroom grants

December 7, 2015
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Furniture maker offers grants for 'active-learning' classrooms
The Verb Classroom "active learning" design focuses on the importance of movement in learning. Courtesy Steelcase

An office furniture maker is helping teachers and professors create “active-learning centers.”

Steelcase will select up to 15 Active Learning Center, or ALC, Grant recipients to receive one of four learning environments featuring Steelcase Education’s modern furniture and technology.

The ALC grant program uses classroom space to implement new teaching practices, centering on student focus and collaboration. This is the second consecutive year for the grant program.

Each grant is valued at $62,000.

Applications are being accepted from schools in the U.S., Canada and Mexico through Feb. 12.

Winners of the 2016 grant will be announced in March. 

Sean Corcorran, general manager of Steelcase Education, said research has shown that active-learning environments “positively impact student engagement.”

“Our 2015 grant recipients have already seen improvements in student focus, and we are eager to partner with more educators who are committed to providing inspiring environments in order to enhance student learning,” Corcorran said.


New this year, technical and trade schools are eligible to apply for the ALC grant, in addition to grades 6-12, colleges and universities.

Schools are also permitted to submit applications for library and media center spaces this year.

Applicants are asked to describe the pedagogy they plan to employ and how the new active-learning classroom will positively impact teaching and learning.

Grantees will be selected based on their commitment to active-learning strategies and how they plan to measure student success and share their learning with the education community.

As part of the ALC program, grantees receive training from Steelcase leaders on best practices for the new furniture and technology.

Grantees will also participate in a “community of practice” with fellow grant recipients to share insights and best practices.

More information on the Active Learning Center Grant is available online.

Previous applicants

Last year's program garnered more than 500 applicants and featured a dozen recipients from North America, including one in West Michigan.

Grantees included P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School at the University of Florida, Ohio State University, University of Arizona and Forest Hills Northern High School in Grand Rapids.

All classrooms have been installed and are being used by teachers and students. Research from the inaugural group of ALC grant recipients is underway and will be released in 2016.

“Our new classroom allows us to support students in a variety of learning and teaching styles that encourage flexibility and movement and positively impact the dynamic between teachers and students,” said Lynda Hayes, director and university school professor, P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School at the University of Florida.

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