Lockers in Schools

12x12x15_Lockers

About two weeks ago, I was cited in a USA Today article; "Hall lockers? Some schools say no". This article examined lockerless schools.  With the advancements in technology, i.e. iPhones, iPads, and very portable laptops which can have immediate access to coursework for different classes, students may no longer need to store their text books and notebooks in lockers.  This preview into what learning environments might be in the future is very thrilling for an educational planner.  Why? Because it reflects how the resources and tools used in schools can potentially change the milieu of these spaces. Furthermore, they might influence how spaces are planned. 

Given my excitement over the article, I proceeded to email it to friends and family.  Interestingly enough, my mother felt that the reason for creating lockerless schools was not about the advancements in technology, but rather on the savings from not providing lockers.  This prompted me to go back and re-read the article. As a result, I have a few questions that educators, administrators, educational planners, designers and architects might consider as we advocate for creating spaces for the next decade and beyond.

  1. When lockers are removed from learning environments, where will learners store paraphernalia needed to protect oneself from the natural elements on their way to and from school, such as hats, coats and boots in areas that are colder or hats and sun cream in warmer areas of the world?
  2. If there are no lockers in schools will the space for lockers be re-allocated to create larger instructional spaces where students can store their personal belongings?
  3. Do lockers support a culture of fear?
    • Will removing the lockers affect the existing culture of fear?
    • Will removing the lockers affect an existing culture of bullying?
    • Will removing the lockers affect an existing culture of alienation?
  4. Or, will removing lockers support a sense of personalization between one another?
    • Will removing lockers support a sense of personalization between students and teachers?
    • Will removing lockers support a sense of personalization between students and other students?
    • By removing lockers, will places be created where students have the opportunity to take ownership, even if only temporary, right before class or between classes?
  5. Should all learning occur virtually?
    • What happens when the technology fails or breaks down, and it will?
    • In creating these types of environments, are we setting teachers and students up to become technologically dependent?
    • What happens if budgets are cut? Will money still be allocated by the state and/or government to sustain and maintain the network systems (information technology) needed for teaching and learning in a virtual school?

 Peter Lippman

EIW Architects

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