Space to Learn
Before picking out furniture and ordering equipment, first ask yourself: What do I want students to do in this space?
The following is an excerpt from Space to Learn, a new resource providing ideas and inspiration for transforming learning spaces.
The publication shares insights drawn from leading thinkers in the fields of design and architecture, as well as lessons learned by members of the Remake Learning network who have redesigned their classrooms and learning spaces in ways large and small.
Making space for learning
Educators have been arranging and rearranging classroom spaces since the days of the one-room schoolhouse. From shared seats and long benches to individual desks, from blackboards to whiteboards to smartboards, learning spaces have evolved over time in response to a changing world and students’ changing needs. That tradition continues today as the science of learning reshapes how teachers prepare students to work collaboratively, act independently, think creatively, and use new technologies.
Learning spaces matter
Designing learning spaces is not about decorating classrooms. As educators work to meet the challenges and opportunities faced by a new generation of students, they are designing (and redesigning) their classrooms to support modern learning.
Research shows that where students learn can make an enormous difference in how well they learn. Absenteeism declines when classrooms have more daylight. The presence of paintings and plants in classrooms has been linked to better motivation and concentration. One study found that the classroom environment can affect pupils’ learning and academic progress by as much as 25%.
Even the smallest tweaks to the design of a learning space can add up to a change that fosters active participation and gets students to take ownership of their learning. Anyone can make space for learning.
Principles of Learning Design
While there’s no one right way to redesign a learning space, researchers, designers, and educators have found a few key concepts that form the basis of effective use of space for learning.
Space to Learn explores how these principles have been applied to help students Collaborate & Communicate, Study & Focus, Investigate & Experiment, Perform & Create, Make & Build, Socialize & Grow.
What you’ll find inside
Space to Learn is a starting point for anyone interested in transforming a learning space. Inside you’ll find big ideas to guide your thinking of what a reimagined space might look like, practical tips on how to begin the process, resources to keep you going, and inspiration along the way.
- Little Bets: Ideas and simple advice from schools and teachers.
- Design Mindset: Questions and guidance for your design journey.
- Students to the Center: Strategies for ensuring that your transformations benefit your students.
- Learn from: Design inspiration from other spaces and places.
- In Practice: Examples and reflections from real space transformations.
Published September 24, 2018