There is a large body of research on ergonomics in school settings. Much of this work has been done in the last two decades, and the field is still very active. A smaller portion of this research has been dedicated to the ergonomics of school lighting. This research, combined with research on the ergonomics of lighting in other settings, indicates a strong link between lighting for schools and student performance.
The Effects of Fluorescent Lighting in Schools on Student Performance
The scientific study of ergonomics became a major concern in the 1940s during World War II. Designers of complex modern weaponry, such as highly technical fighter aircraft, needed to take into account ergonomics. In this case, the ergonomics was simply the human ability to operate such weaponry effectively. This kind of military ergonomics continued into the Cold War era.
Systematic study of human interactions with workplace tools and methods began in the 19th century in industrial settings. By the 1970s, scientific research began to be directed at specific changes to work environments that improved worker comfort and productivity. Scholarly papers dealt with the effects of furniture, tools (such as pens and staplers), and other features of the workplace.
In the 1990s scientific studies of ergonomics began to include the lighting in working environments. In addition to workplaces, ergonomics in general and light studies specifically started to include learning environments. By the late 1990s and early 2000s, a body of research began to emerge around lighting and student performance.
Field studies showed that the standard lighting in schools was not conducive to the highest levels of student performance. Students who worked under standard pink or cool-white fluorescent lighting showed higher rates of behavior problems. In addition, these students performed more poorly on academic measures than students with other types of lighting. Such lgihting also had adverse effects on students’ and teachers’ mental health.
The last two decades of scientific study have clearly shown that unfiltered pink or cool-white fluorescent lighting is not the best environment for student performance.
Decorative Light Covers and Student Learning
In recent years, decorative light covers for fluorescent lights have become more widely available. These covers have appealing imagery that can change the mood in a classroom environment. At the same time, these covers filter the raw fluorescent light, preventing some of the worst effects of that fluorescent lighting in schools. Due to the newness of this kind of lighting filter, there is not yet a substantial body of research. However, reviews from teachers who have used these decorative light covers in their classrooms indicate a positive change in student mood and achievement.
One example of this change is reported by a kindergarten teacher. This teacher recently purchased decorative light covers from Octo Lights and reports a significant change in her students’ mood. According to their review:
“I teach Kindergarten and my students LOVE these lights. I highly recommend buying these lights for a calming and peaceful classroom. My students love pretending that they are learning outside.”
This teacher purchased panels with images of clouds in a blue sky. By using these covers to filter the light in their classroom, this teacher has immediately improved students’ perceptions of their learning environment. This is especially pronounced with younger students, whom she says “love pretending that they are learning outside”
Decorative Light Covers in the Classroom
Decorative light covers are not only useful with young children. Many teachers have written to Octo Lights to tell us how calming these light covers are. It is clear that the harsh light of regular fluorescent fixtures is not optimal for student mood and learning. But we are always proud (if not surprised) at how this small change can have a big effect.
It is simply amazing how just replacing the light covers in a classroom makes a huge difference. Many teachers have shown that using decorative light covers to filter the standard harsh fluorescent light has a strong and immediate effect.
Decorative Light Covers in Schools
Decorative light covers have benefits outside of the classroom as well. Many studies of ergonomics in school cover much more than just the classroom. These studies study the effects of ergonomics in science labs, technology labs, gymnasiums, and even the total layout of a school.
So it is not surprising that decorative light covers have found a use outside of the classroom. The great thing about decorative light covers is that in addition to filtering fluorescent light, they are decorative! This give schools lots of options when choosing to filter their harsh fluorescent lighting. As that kindergarten teacher indicated, the design she chose for her fluorescent light covers was just as important as the filtering properties. By choosing an appealing image of a blue sky and light, fluffy clouds, she spurs her studnets’ imagination. Her students love to pretend they are learning outside.
In another case, a school used their choice of images to enhance student morale and participation. According to one of our satisfied Octo Lights customers, their decorative light covers tie in with the school’s mascot. In her review she wrote:
“Love these. They look like real water!! We put them in our elementary school since our mascot is dolphins and the kids love looking at them!”
Imagine the daily thrill of the students in this school. First of all, they not subject to the daily stress created by harsh fluorescent lighting. On top of that, they also enjoy a school environment that reflects school spirit unique to their school. Student participation and feelings of belonging are important indicators of student academic success. This customer has found a great way to make her students feel part of the school spirit every time they walk the halls of their school.
One amazing feature of Octo Lights in the shear size of their selection. Customers can choose from hundreds of unique designs. The customers we’ve reviewed found great choices that fit their needs. By using the sky and clouds image, the kindergarten teacher gave her students a window to the outdoors, even when they are inside and even when the weather is bad. The customer who put the water image in her school came up with another great way to use one of our stock selections.
If you find that you need something that is not in our selection (amazingly, sometimes it happens), you have another choice. Octo Lights makes it incredibly easy to upload your own image to create completely customized decorative light covers. Along with our wide selection of stock covers, the upload option makes our selection truly limitless.
One way to use our upload feature is to place your school logo or mascot on your decorative light covers. Another idea is to use different covers for different effects of fluorescent lighting in schools.
Because our prices are so affordable (under $30 for most decorative light covers), you don’t have to choose just one design. One option is to use different designs for different occasions or seasons. Imagine putting up custom light covers featuring your school’s logo or mascot for spirit week or homecoming. Using unique light covers to create a special mood is a cheap and easy way to involve anyone walking into your school in the special event.
Octo Lights Makes Ordering Easy
Octo Lights doesn’t just want you to enjoy your light covers. We want you to enjoy the process of purchasing your light covers as well. Our website is easy to use. Uploading custom images is as simple as selecting a file from your computer. And shipping is quick and easy. Most orders ship within 1-2 business via FedEx Ground Shipping. You will automatically receive an email with a tracking number. You can use your tracking number to follow your shipment right up to the moment it hits your doorstep (or office receiving room).
If you haven’t already, take a look around our site and see some of our great options for yourself. Our help page has answers to frequently asked questions and other useful information. And if you have any other questions or just want to chat, you can contact us anytime and we will respond to you promptly.