Close your eyes and imagine your current learning space. What do you see people doing in this space? How are they behaving? What stories does this space tell? Now, imagine your ideal learning space. What are people doing in it? How are they behaving? What stories would his space to tell?
Open your eyes. How different is your ideal learning space from your current space? Think about those differences.
Are these just fantasies or can learning spaces be all that you imagined? They can be and research has shown that space does indeed have an impact on learning. But, knowing where to start can be overwhelming, whether you’re a teacher wanting to transform your classroom; a Principal working with a committee to renovate a current building; or the director of an organization seeking ways to better address the learning needs of all youth.
It’s tempting to start by looking on Pinterest at cool spaces or on furniture sites for swivel stools, modular benches, adjustable tables, and so forth. However, if we could change teaching and learning with fancy new desks, learning space redesign would be simple. However, designing and implementing learning environments that encourage good instructional and learning practices to accommodate the next generation of learners, can be challenging, but is fun!
Like most projects, it’s important to start with the end in mind; What are your goals and how can you map your physical environment to those goals? What is it about your current space that doesn’t suit your or your users’ needs? Or, if you find yourself just “given” a new space to work in, how can you take advantage of that space? What strategic changes do you need to make first before changing the environment? Keeping the end user in mind by considering what you want the user to get out of the experience within the space, is a good starting point. Imagine the behaviors you’d like to see when opening the doors to a new space.
Whether you’re just curious about learning spaces or interested in transforming your own space, this month, you’ll find all sorts of suggestions and discussions on transitioning to active learning and active learning spaces. Get ready to disregard any preconceptions you may have of a “classroom”.
Close your eyes once more, and imagine an empty room - free of students, bare walls, not even shades on the windows - everything that can be changed is gone. Reshaping this space to best meet the needs of your learners is what active learning spaces are all about.
This month, we’ll explore the question: What role does space play in learning?
Reply to this post, sharing your interest in active learning spaces and responding to the question: What role does space play in learning? If possible, upload a picture of your learning space. This may be a space you’d like to transform, one that has been transformed, or one that works for you as is. Explain in your post.
Share this post with at least one other person to encourage participation.
Assess your readiness for active learning. Bookmark the page so you can come back to reassess throughout your process.
Take a survey about color choice.
Become an observer of spaces, share your observations and respond to others' ideas.
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