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How simulated sunlight in the classroom helps learning

© Andreas Tischler/futurezone

Bright, cool light keeps you awake and allows you to concentrate on your work for longer. But it is not comfortable. A room flooded with orange light is much more comfortable – but it in turn makes you tired in the long run. Depending on the color or wavelength range, light can evoke different levels of alertness and well-being in us.

Lighting therefore plays a special role in schools. In principle, the lighting standard for interior lighting regulates how much light must be available in a classroom. Uniformity and color rendering are also regulated, so that red in the light also looks like red.

simulated sunlight

However, the general room climate can be further optimized and the learning behavior and attention of students can be improved, as a research group from the Aspern Smart City Research (ASCR) with Vienna Energy showed In the Volksschulen Ebreichsdorf, Guntramsdorf and Unterwalterdorf A new lighting system has been installed in Lower Austria, consisting of energy-efficient LED lights with so-called HCL Technik (“Human Centric Lighting”) best.

“The HCL lighting concept focuses on people. Luminaires have been used which produce high quality light. Illumination, uniformity, color rendering and color temperature are optimally selected,” says Elizabeth Teufelsbaueruse case manager in the research project”Demand oriented lighting“.

The special feature: this is achieved through daylight control and programming natural sunlight imitated

The study showed that simulated sunlight made young students feel more alert in class

Biorhythm supported

The lighting automatically adapts to the course of the day and therefore supports the biorhythm of the students. In addition to simulating natural sunlight, the system also offers other functions, such as attentive work, that teachers can use for a short time. “For example, if there is an exam, the teacher switches from the normal course of daylight to active work. Then I have higher lighting or a colder light so that the children are supported in their concentration,” says Teufelsbauer.

In addition, a lighting option has been installed for relaxed work. This is suitable, for example, when a class wants to reflect on the day in a circle of chairs. “Then dim light shines with less brightness.”

Various sensors

In addition to the lights, the installed system also consists of different ones sensors. They measure temperature, movement, volume, humidity and carbon dioxide levels in the classroom. “The CO2 indicator was very popular among the teachers. They saw from a light that they had to ventilate again, for example when the light was red”. The parameters measured with the sensors will continue to be evaluated.

Elisabeth Teufelsbauer, Use Case Manager of the project

The aim of the study was in any case to support the children in their development, but not to increase the pressure to perform with the system, emphasizes Teufelsbauer. The lighting system is also intended to compensate for the daylight deficit. The results show that the system generally made the children feel more awake and that the light contributed to more calmness, concentration and well-being.

Avoid extremes

Extremes should be avoided both in schools and at home – that is, too little or too much, too hot or too cold light. “The children fall asleep in a class with very warm light.” On the other hand, if they are constantly exposed to cold light, as for example in sports halls where competitive sports are practiced, they will be alert. for a certain time, but then they were too tired. “A balanced light of good quality is best,” she adds.

It is also important that the lighting is of high quality so that no flickering is generated. “People don’t notice it themselves, but if they sit under a light source that flickers all day, they notice it in the evening and don’t feel good.”

According to Teufelsbauer, switching to energy-efficient HCL lights is generally worth it. However, it is slightly more expensive than conventional LED technology. However, conventional LED lights are already well developed and also provide good light.

Cell phones, computers, flat screen TVs and other electronic devices radiate blue light away. The effects of artificial light on human vision and sleep patterns have been discussed for some time.

Study results on the influence of blue light on the day-night rhythm and on our eyes vary greatly. A new study has now shown that blue light even significantly accelerates the biological aging process.

change in the brain

At least this is true for fruit flies of the genus Drosophila melanogaster. Researchers of University of Oregon exposed the insects to an increased dose of blue light for 10 to 14 days. The control group was kept in complete darkness.

While no changes in the brain could be detected in the latter, those insects exposed to the concentrated blue light showed accelerated cell aging – they generally lived shorter lives. Specifically, the content of certain metabolic products necessary for correct cell function showed changes.

On the one hand was the metabolite Succinate elevated It promotes the production and growth of every cell. The metabolite Glutamate on the other hand is reduced. It is responsible for the communication between the neurons. According to the research team, these results are likely a sign of faster cell aging.

influence on man

Basically, humans have the same chemical signals that have been studied in the cells of fruit flies. Nevertheless, follow-up studies must first show whether the study results also apply to humans.

According to the American researchers, this cannot be completely ruled out. However, during the research project, the fruit flies were exposed to a highly concentrated blue light. Humans, on the other hand, are exposed to much weaker artificial light in everyday life.

See also  biosafety recommendations and care against infections

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