Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Learning Spaces by Design

On October 25, 2011 I was a guest presenter at the Education Environments Symposium held at the Dekalb Office Customer Experience Center in Alpharetta, GA. The title of the presentation was, "Learning Spaces by Design- How we can revitalize teaching, learning, and collaboration." The objective of the session was to review a wide variety of learning space designs throughout the U.S. and the world, and to cover 10 core design space concepts that should be included in any learning space project. Both successes and failures in learning space design and integration were illustrated and explained. The Center was filled with innovative and ergonomic settings and designs.

One of the most intriguing featured elements was the innovative "node" chair which promotes flexible mobility and collaborative seating. The striking ergonomic design provides the opportunity to redefine the traditional "front of the classroom" and helps to empower both the student and faculty member to creatively innovate the teaching and learning activities. The seating design also provides a "cubby" place which is particularly helpful in cold weather climates where students have heavy clothing, backpacks, and other items. Considering space, place, and teaching and learning activities can greatly enhance the educational and social experience.

Another innovative design which was featured was the media:scape concept. This innovative product provides collaboration through a variety of seating arrangements, switching of computer signals from
collaborators, and also HD video conferencing options. To share computer screens, collaborators merely have to click a "puck device" which displays their specific computer screen. The product is described as having the ability to break down "barriers and democratizes how people access and share information by allowing....participants to contribute to their ideas- equally, quickly, and seamlessly." You can learn more about the collaborative features of the media:scape concept by viewing this video:

This event brought faculty and staff from universities, colleges, and school districts together with architects to learn and discuss the key design concepts of ensuring the effective creation and integration of learning spaces. The key takeaways from this presentation were the core 10 Key Design Concepts:

Teaching and Learning
Space utilization
Interior Architecture
Translucent technology
Social media integration
Emerging technologies