The Impact of Learning Space on Instruction – Part 2

Guests Ben Gilpin, host of Classroom Cribs and Principal at Warner Elementary school, and Mary Wilson, teacher at Elizabeth Forward High School, speak from personal experience. Find out how a learning space can enhance student engagement and take away a few tips for designing your own creative learning space!

Part 2 of 2

The Impact of Learning Space on Instruction – Part 1

Guests Ben Gilpin, host of Classroom Cribs and Principal at Warner Elementary school, and Mary Wilson, teacher at Elizabeth Forward High School, speak from personal experience. Find out how a learning space can enhance student engagement and take away a few tips for designing your own creative learning space!

Part 1 of 2

The Impact of Learning Space on Instruction

By Sarah Avery, Community Advocate, Educator

Community and school libraries across the nation are transforming their mission from only providing textual forms of information to inspiring discovery through the use of collaborative makerspaces.  Companies, like Google and AOL utilize open office space designs to enhance creativity and innovation through a combination of relaxing, play, and work areas.

What do these different “organizations” have in common? Innovative and modern interior design.  Libraries and companies that have already embraced the transition from traditional work, learning, and educational environments to those of the future have also updated their interior design. From single desks or cubes to open floor spaces with round tables. From white walled rooms with poor indoor lighting to large, airy, brightly colored rooms with large windows. These new spaces contain a variety of seating choices with deliberately sectioned spaces for a multitude of purposes, efficiently transforming outdated working spaces into modern spaces designed to promote the skills needed for the 21st Century.

Developing a culture of innovation, a generation of creative individuals, a world in harmony through the advancement and efficiency of technology will propel our nation into the 21st Century. This dream for the future begins in our classrooms.

At Zulama, we promote the development and growth of 21st Century skills through our collaborative, blended learning environments facilitated by teachers and administrators.  Take a look below to see their learning spaces. What similarities can you see between their classrooms and the modern offices of Google and AOL? The Makerspaces designed by libraries?  How can we, across the nation, work to change the face of modern education without first changing the spaces close to our hearts?

When deciding to update classrooms, there are many companies to turn to for furniture and resources. However, how do we know the additions to our rooms will really help? Check out this infographic by Hertz Furniture on how classroom design affects student behavior.

When updating, also consider the color of your classroom.  When thinking of classrooms, we often think of rooms with white walls… but there are other options! For more information on color theory and the psychology of color, check out this infographic from Design 55.

Looking to include your students in the design process, but not sure where to start? Create a mini-unit on the history of interior design! Check out the video below from iconwallstickers.co.uk for some ideas:

Impact of Learning Space

A Reflection on South Fayette’s Game Jam

A Reflection on South Fayette’s Game Jam: Design and the Problem-Solving Process

By Norton Gusky

Norton_suit

For the past three years I’ve been trying to find common ground with personalized learning and project-based learning. Somewhere in the mix we need to think about work-based elements. Deep Learning brings these pieces together. For the past year I’ve worked with the South Fayette Township School District, near Pittsburgh, PA. They have developed a framework that builds a three-dimensional model.

According to Aileen Owens, the Director of Technology and Innovation for the South Fayette School District, there are three key elements: “(1) a specific problem solving process, (2) characteristics of successful problem solvers or habits of mind, and (3) career vision. The design problem-solving process used in this model is the process practiced by computer scientists and engineers, which is “the ability to think logically, algorithmically, abstractly, and recursively”. It is the ability to take a large abstract idea and break it into smaller easier to solve problem sets. The second aspect of computational thinking includes habits of mind, the characteristics of intelligent and successful problem solvers. These characteristics include confidence dealing with complexity, persistence, a tolerance for ambiguity, and the ability to communicate and work well with others.

The final aspect of computational thinking is career vision. Within each STEAM initiative we instill in students a sense of awareness of career contexts and understanding of how careers reflect their learning. We consider computational thinking, which includes computer programming, to be the new literacy. The process of working effectively and the ability to be innovative with computer-based technology is as important to our children’s future as the basic reading, writing, and mathematics literacies.”

Give Kids the Reins

Revisiting some of my “Read Later” notes, I came across this article from April’s Fast Company Magazine. It strikes me because so many of the Zulama courses focus on allowing kids to be creative, giving them the foundation for great work, and then stepping aside to let the great work blossom. The article portrays students who were involved in designing a classroom from the ground up, and the results were stunning.This kind of project-based learning is the future of education, and the future of Zulama!

-Nikki Navta, President