With all the talk of improving the way our schools are designed, it’s hard to imagine that the next innovation in outdoor classroom seating may be artificial grass. It’s also hard to imagine that North America’s largest artificial turf manufacturer is still only a small market force in the United States. The technology seems far from being ready for prime time.
That’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of ways to make sure students get the right support and curriculum materials and teachers get the attention they need for the most accurate landscape design. But when it comes to outdoor classroom space, creativity and innovation seem to be increasingly hard to come by.
And one of the key strategies that schools use to keep their schools up to date with the latest advances in technology – it’s an issue that companies could really help with by making a stronger effort to use technologies such as GPS systems, programming, and other best practices. The idea of creating software that’s educational, for example, would be relatively easy to do with the ease of use and convenience of GPS technology.
Take, for example, the “Make It Real” program that has been created at the University of California, Irvine, to create software programs to be able to create natural grass in different environments. In one example, using virtual traffic cones to represent potholes and uneven road surfaces, the program was able to find a way to create an artificial turf that creates artificial grass. There are many, many more examples to follow with.
With the advancements of technology at the university that allows students to do real-world projects, it’s certainly possible that developers of GPS systems will create programs that show school administrators how easy it is to create an environment where there are artificial grass and the results can look just like the real thing. Technology has grown leaps and bounds over the last few years and many innovations have been created for use in outdoor classroom settings.
Currently, there is a large opportunity for companies to step in and provide a competitive advantage. When it comes to outdoor school settings, there is nothing like the idea of creating a landscape that looks like the one at home. In fact, there are opportunities to hire a landscape architect or landscape designer that can bring the same unique expertise to the project that they would if the project were at home.
Of course, this brings us back to another topic – how can schools create a particular education approach for the classroom? Even if they were to hire landscape designers, they’d still be operating under the constraints of a limited budget.
If different schools were to take the same ideas, they might find themselves having to move to something else. It’s a bit like going from frosted glass to frosted acrylic; the colors and tones are definitely different, but they’re not quite the same and you run into problems with keeping them in place when the climate changes and people start to grow out of the way.
The manufacturers are finally coming around to the idea that artificial grass can work in outdoor settings, though the market is not quite there yet. One thing that is encouraging is that the opportunities are becoming available to create a range of things in terms of the technology and there is a real opportunity to push this technology.
At the moment, it’s all the talk of how great it would be to provide artificial grass for an outdoor classroom setting, and why it won’t cost the same as other types of artificial grass. However, the cost is going to be somewhat higher than it would be in a gymnasium or recreation facility.
That is because the traditional method for creating artificial grass isn’t very good. So if we can develop a better system for creating grass using technology that is similar to the one used in laboratories, then we’re onto a winner.
In the meantime, we are in a position to study and improve what we know and how it will play a role in our teaching and learning system and eventually we will have a perfect model of Artificial Grass Colorado Springs. But we need to continue to keep that in mind when we look at other areas, such as the subject of politics and global warming and how those areas can actually benefit from some of the research and innovation that happen in the open research universities.