Wednesday, 19 November 2008

21st century learning spaces - sharing conversations and ideas

Having opportunities to sit, share ideas and discuss approaches to designing 21st learning environments is always a great and thought provoking experience. Talking to architects, designers and educators from other countries is even better, especially if they are 'on the same page' as we consider what are called 21st century learning environments. Today it was with the impressive SHW Group from Dallas who really specialise in education settings. Not only did they share many great images, but the majority of the lengthy discussion was about processes they undertook to achieve them. Predictably with designers dedicated to learners, there really was great commonality in views.

The change of learning styles and the future ongoing change means the conversations should never stop. Therefore only by designing new agile spaces can the learning environment possibly support this constant development. The same obviously applies to what ICT in education looks like but the change is even faster!

A large part of the UK Building Schools of the Future (BSF) initiative is, whilst producing new schools, a competitive bidding process between construction companies in a very very short time scale. As a result the cross fertilisation of ideas between firms is really restricted and basically does not happen. We are really missing opportunities here to learn from new schools already built across the UK and ensure the lessons learnt are incorporated, where appropriate, in new schemes. Isn't this a priority for our students?

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