The Language of School Design: Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools by Prakash Nair, Randall Fielding, and Jeffrey Lackney; 2009, Minneapolis, MN: DesignShare.Com Publishing

Feburary 2013

 

Due to the upcoming remodeling of the Schindler Education Center, a planning team has been created to begin a feasibility study that sets the foundation for the redesign.  A member from each of the departments was selected to serve on this team and they were assigned this book to read as we prepare for the feasibility study.  The planning team members are:

Aricia Beckman – Special Education

Maxine Davis – Instructional Resources and Technology Services

Chris Edginton – Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

Ben Forsythe – Educational Psychology and Foundations

Mary Herring – Curriculum and Instruction

Rick Knivsland – Department of Teaching

Dewitt Jones – Educational Leadership and Post-Secondary

Dwight C. Watson – Dean of the College of Education

The book provides several excellent conceptions of classroom spaces that align nicely with the vision of the Schindler redesign.  The vision is to create a 21st Century learning space that inspires, motivates, and prepares learners to live in an ever-changing, globalized world.  The environment should foster and promote teachers and learners who can think critically, creatively, operate collaboratively, use technology, exhibit effective written and oral communication, and operate in teams that reflect diverse, global perspectives.  As I read the book, there were many design features that would enable us to meet this vision.  These features focused on student-centered structures that promote collaboration, interaction, and fluidity.  As you enter our current atrium space which is the hub of student activity, it is far removed from those spaces that are most student-centered.  The book provides examples in which an atrium area should be surrounded by those services that are most critical to learners.  In our case, imagine if the atrium space featured a reception area that provides easy access to the building.  Also imagine if the atrium space was central to surrounded service areas so that learners could have immediate access to the advising center, field-based experience services, curriculum library, technology centers, and lecture halls.  In this re-imagining, those critical services and learning areas are amplified instead of tucked away in a labyrinth as currently designed.  The book also showcases features in which direct lighting opens up enclosed features making the structure less citadel-like.  The Schindler Education Center should invite learners and visitors inside to a day-lit, public dwelling that encourages conversation, study, and reflection.  As we continue to vision and plan for the redesign, we will seek input from students and faculty.  Copies of this book will be made available for checkout in the Instructional Resource and Technology Services (IRTS) lab.  The planning team encourages you to review the book in order to visualize the future of your work and learning environment.