You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the box above.

Parents, you may know that, to keep our schools as good as they can be for the children in them, we have installed a series of Learnometers to actively measure CO2, TVOC, PM2.5, humidity, temperature, noise and light. We want to keep these variables at a level that is optimal for your children's cognitive functions and wellbeing. Too much CO2, or bad light, or whatever, all impact on your children, so we aim to optimise everything.

These devices are not only for classrooms but can be also used at home so that you can check your home working, and homework, spaces. So many more of us are working from home during this pandemic and we will be looking for a few homes to be part of this project too.

This Zoom webinar explains a little more about the project for interested parents.

date and time:
Thursday 17th December 17:00 Madrid time
30 mins presentation + max 30 mins Q&A

a recording of the 30 minute presentation (which is in English) will be posted here, and also with a Spanish transcript, shortly.

We also have seven short recorded video inputs (below) explaing the impact of each variable:

CO2 (ppm)

As students learn, and teachers teach, they breathe in oxygen and exhale CO2.

Once CO2 reaches levels of 1,000 part per million (and maybe lower, some research suggests) we know that learning is impaired. Many classrooms run damagingly above this level.

click image to view video

temperature (°C)

The optimum range for learning is 18°C - 21°C. Above 21°C academic performance drops in a straight line.

Classrooms needing windows and doors to be opened - to reduce CoVID aerosol tranmission dangers - may be colder than many students were used to, but that is no bad thing.

click image to view video

light (lux)

Teacher colleagues suffering regular headaches - or feeling exhausted on a Friday - may be surprised to hear the impact of poor light on that.

But for children: engagement, attention, deep concentration are all impacted by light. Above 500 lux, with a Kelving value of 5,500+ is what optimal learning needs.

click image to view video


There is probably a PhD or two in defining what “total volatile organic compounds" precisely are - but you'd recognise the chemical smells from fresh, oil-based paint, or from glueing carpet tiles.

TVOCs are not good for learning. Alarmingly our Learnometers have shown high TVOC levels in classrooms because of Deep Cleaning for CoVID.

click image to view video

humidity (%)

Humidity has leapt to the fore in 2020 because moist airways help capture inhaled virus bearing particles - so that humidity helps reduce infection rates. But as well as too dry, humidity can also be too moist. The optimal seems to lie somewhere beween 40% - 60%

click image to view video

Noise / sounds (dB)

Every teacher will know how distracting excessive noise can be. Lots of research on vehicle noise and driver concentration confirms our common sense. Under 76dB is a good target.

But the rapidity of noise patterns is a concentration wrecker too. Quiet music can help, but the "right" music is not always what you might expect.

click image to view video

microparticulates (pm2.5)

The nasty soot particles from traffic and industrial pollution are well documented as Bad For Your Wellbeing. The CoVID virus can hitch a ride on them too, making them even more unhealthy.

But now we know that they can also damage cognitive processes - with students possibly dropping a full year of schooling before 15 as a consequence.

click image to view video

our thanks to the wonderful staff and children of Fingringhoe Primary School in Essex who hosted the video session and to Gratnells who provided some of the video capture.

Prof Stephen Heppell of UCJC
this page last updated on Monday, December 21, 2020