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Rethinking Our Learning Spaces

ClassroomMoveableFurnitureITESMCCM 02
CC Wikimedia - Thelmadatter
Heutagogy, unlike pedagogy, focuses on self-determined learning. As learning and education become more heutaogical, shouldn't our learning spaces accommodate this shift? What are the features and characteristics that define a modern learning space? Notice, that I have not used the word classroom. Several days of researching this topic has challenged my thinking on the concept of classroom. This verbiage has been replaced with terms like; ideation lab, innovation space, maker pods, gamer zone, and learning sector. The concept of specific learning zones is not new.

What type of learning would you expect to find in our Auto Shop, our Dance Room, our Transitions Apartment, or our Art Lab? Should these learning areas be separated from each other, or should schools be designed with an open concept to invite cross-curricular, self-directed, learning experiences?

We are supporting innovative teaching and connected learning with a 1:1 iPad initiative, and while we like to trumpet the phrase, "the device shouldn't matter", in the case of redesigning outdated classrooms, the iOS device does impact the integration of supportive technical features, such as multimedia projectors, and Apple TVs.

Students in our Business, Applied Tech, and Art Departments will be researching, designing, and illustrating how our modern learning spaces should look and function. Hopefully, their collective work will serve as a recommendation for moving forward with an extensive remodeling of our learning spaces. Your input on this is welcome and encouraged. What are you and your school doing to modernize your learning spaces?

General Recommendations

  1. Open spaces for students to move and gather for collaborative learning
  2. Move-able furniture to provide flexibility of use for the space
  3. Idea paint and whiteboards for sharing ideas on vertical spaces
  4. Elimination of the teacher desk / workstation
  5. Smart TV or interactive projector to assist students with engaging, hands-on presentations
  6. Apple TV to provide projection capabilities from instructor / student iPads
  7. Ceiling mounted speakers to provide clear audio to the entire space
  8. An iPad stage to support demonstrations and large group discussions
  9. A wireless access point to provide ubiquitous Internet access to the learning space
  10. Ample availability of electrical outlets and charging stations for student devices
  11. Storage solutions for peripherals such as bluetooth keyboards, headsets, and controllers


Related Reading & Resources







Classroom Design - Erin Klein's Pinterest Boards

Classroom Architect Tool - Classroom4Teachers.org


Comments

Grading Girl said…
I can't wait to hear what our Business, Art and Applied Tech departments have to say about classroom design!! I think that with us all going 1:1 and teaching with the iPads, the old school rows don't work as well for most class activities. For testing, yes; but, for discussing, discovering, searching, and conversing . . . we need to be in pod settings to best share our work.
I completely agree with you Theresa. The time is right to rethink our learning spaces. I used to dislike waiting at the airport. But now, with comfortable seating, wi-fi, and convenient power ports - I don't mind if my flight is delayed. Thank you for your comment G.G..

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