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The Gaming Room

A versatile learning environment built into a school

The Gaming Room is a space created and built in schools where learning takes place through games. The space functions as a new kind of learning environment both during and outside lessons.

Finland 100


HundrED has selected this innovation to

Finland 100






March 2017
A comprehensive design behind the teaching space takes into account all the elements of formal and informal learning that are missing from traditional classrooms.

About the innovation

What is it all about?

The transformation of schools' operational culture to meet the present day needs puts pressure on the development of learning environments as well. The impact of the surrounding environment on the wellbeing of students and teachers and on learning is evident.

Also, the understanding of learning taking place in informal environments has increased. The aim is to create new learning environments that enable versatile work and learning in different ways. Effective learning environments consist of a number of different areas that have functions and characteristics that students are familiar with.

The Gaming Room is a classroom-sized space built inside a school, where learning takes place both during and outside lessons. The space can be used in versatile ways for teaching, and serious games support learning outside the classroom.

The space consists of different areas, each of which has its own rules governing its activities. The areas provide opportunities for different activities: you can learn or play alone or in a group, with or without using equipment or different furniture. Flexible furniture solutions make it possible to adapt the space to meet different needs.

In the Gaming Room, particular attention has been paid to lighting, acoustics, indoor air and interior design. Soft surfaces and furniture have been chosen to reduce the noise level and to enhance vocal capacity, which, in particular, improves the working conditions for teamwork. Good and natural lighting implemented with LED lights contribute to wellbeing.

In the Gaming Room built for the English School of Helsinki, playing educational games has been included into the school's everyday life in a meaningful and interesting way. Students can also play games in their spare time. Games chosen for the space have been selected in collaboration with Serious Gaming Cluster, and a panel of students and teachers helped in their selection. The aim of the games is to support the learning of different subjects, from math to social science.

The Gaming Room was built for the English School of Helsinki in the spring of 2017, assisted by Isku Interior and DNA Telecommunications Group . Before the end of the school year in May, the school got to celebrate the opening of the space and in the fall of 2017, the use of the space was continued.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability


With the help of the Gaming Room example, you can build a learning space that enables versatile work and is also suitable for informal learning.


The space encourages interactive learning in both in and outside of school.


The space can be created with the same resources as a full renovation of a classroom.


Implementation steps

Choosing the space
The first step towards building your own Gaming Room is to find a suitable space inside the school.

Any classroom-sized space will work. Because the space is planned and built from start to finish, for example, windows are not a necessity. However, local regulations which may restrict the selection of the space, must be taken into consideration, e.g. fire safety ordinance.

The English School of Helsinki:

In the English School of Helsinki, a windowless art classroom in poor condition was chosen as the space. Teachers and students were included in the process and the student body was informed of the progress of the project from planning until the completion of the space.

Plan the use of the space with the teachers of the school. Write down wishes, which will be presented to the architect.You can start by looking at the following things concerning the use of space:

  • Will students have unrestricted entrance to the space?

  • How much will teachers use the space during classes?

  • What kind of games will be played and what sort of space is needed for them?

Make the first plan together with an architect or interior designer, who draws the first draft of the space based on your wishes. However, be aware that the plan might be modified along the way.

Before beginning, the suitability of the space should be inspected with the selected contractor to make sure that there are no structural constraints that inhibit the practical implementation of the plan. Be prepared for budget planning and schedule for an extra planning round.

The plan is presented to the selected contractor who inspects the plan and makes the necessary changes in view of the building and the space. After this, the plan will be returned to the architect who will make any modifications based on the feedback received from the contractor.

The end result should be to make the plan, resources and the contractor’s view to all match each other.

The English School of Helsinki:

At the English School of Helsinki, the design process of the space took two and a half months. Three different areas were built in the space for different types of work:

  • A space bordered with screens for independent work

  • Table groups for teamwork

  • A sofa set for playing games, for instance

The spaces are modifiable, so that the furniture can be moved to create a fourth space: a stand where performances can be held. It was agreed that the space should be suitable for both lessons and students’ spare time.

The construction process begins. Construction is carried out by the selected contractor. Also, at this stage, keep the teachers and student body up to date on how things are progressing.
Materials and Decorating
Decorate and furnish the space as desired. Take advantage of the interior design elements that are already found at the school.

Consider asking a local interior designer or some other partner to collaborate with you. For example, at the English School of Helsinki, ISKU Interior was involved in planning and choosing furniture. It is good to order the furniture already during the building phase, because delivery times can take up to several weeks.

Also note the following things:

1) Materials

The materials must be durable and washable, and withstand heavy wear. Additionally, it is recommended to favor soft materials and surfaces, as they contribute to sound suppression.

2) Acoustics

For example, in the English School of Helsinki, acoustical panels have been installed on the walls, curtains have been put up on the walls, and sound-absorbing material has been used for the flooring. Also, the independent work space is bordered with screens that block some sound.

3) Lighting

A possibility for different lighting environments can be created for the space. For example, a dimming option should be reserved for lights. This will diversify the use of the space and will enable quickly influencing the atmosphere.

At the English School of Helsinki, the room wall is circled by three LED light strips, with changeable colors. That way the atmosphere in the space can be influenced by creating a soothing atmosphere, for example, by changing the lighting conditions in the room to bluish.

4) Storage

Think about what equipment you will have in the space and where it will be stored.

Choosing Games
Games, by which learning can be continued outside the classroom, are essential to the Gaming Room.When selecting games, you should keep the following in mind:

  • Find out what your school budget is for the purchase of games and equipment

  • Choose free games as well

  • Keep in mind that there is a wide range of serious games, nearly not all of them are digital

Include the students when choosing games. You can find good serious games lists from the web, which you can use in the selection of the games. For example, you can use Serious Gaming Cluster's list of Finnish serious games as help.

There are three types of games available at the English School’s space: board games, physical exercise games and digital games. There space is also equipped with tablets and three desktop computers.

It is important to create a common set of rules for operating in the space. This way students know how to operate smoothly around the different areas in the space.

At the English School of Helsinki, the student body created operating rules, and a few teachers and students were chosen to be responsible for the space.

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