Looking for something?

See All
Light, Learning, and Color

Lighting, Learning, & Color

Lighting, Learning, & Color


Lighting in schools is largely based on a factory model that features uniform brightness and a focus on the “teaching wall” – this makes sense for a 19th-century approach to production, or for robots, but fails to respond to human needs for varied, nuanced environments.


Provide natural lighting wherever possible, as well as a variety of electric lighting types and levels to respond to the varied needs of individual learners. Four types of lighting are ideal, including: a) General Lighting, spaced in a regular pattern, and if feasible, dimmable, with a portion of the light reflecting off of the ceiling and a portion directed downwards; b) Directional Lighting, highlighting features and walls with “color pops,” sparking movement, as learners will tend to look and then move toward brighter light levels; c) Ambient lighting, including desk lamps, standing lamps, hanging pendants and accent lighting that creates focal points with various colors and brightness levels; and d) Work/Utility Lighting, which includes brighter lighting levels for storage and work areas.

Related Patterns Learning Community, Student Display Space, Cave Space, Daylighting

Learn More