My school director has given me the opportunity to redesign the layout of our school's IT lab to better suit my classes. Currently the computers are in the "inverted U" layout listed here so that I can monitor students' monitors but not their faces.
I find that this makes classroom management difficult (I teach grades 6-9). Students frequently get distracted by what is on their neighbors' computers, and every student can see every other student's monitor without much effort. It also makes individual work like quizzes/exams basically impossible. If I have to make an announcement I am making it to the backs of students' heads. Students have to turn their whole chairs around (we don't have office chairs) to pay attention to a lesson, which means they can't comfortably take notes on what I am saying or what I write on the board.
I'm currently debating with myself between three layouts:
- computers in clusters of four (the four-leaf clover layout from the link above)
- computers in rows such that students face the front of the room and monitors face the back, like this (I would then teach from the front, and when students had work time I would move to the back to monitor the screens)
- computers in four rows: one row against each side wall (students facing the walls), two rows together in a center island (students facing each other), such that I would have an oblique view of the monitors from the front of the room and students would have to rotate about 90 degrees to face forward.