Friday, 1 May 2009

21st century learning spaces - funky 'cool' design

The central space complete with 'floating rooms' and climbing wall
I was very fortunate last week to go on the BCSE (British Council for School Environments) study tour to the Netherlands. The whole trip took just two days with five very different schools being visited.
I suppose the most memorable was the award winning Facilitair Centrum Niekée in Roermond. Niekée is based in a spectacular new 8000m² building and is really a very funky modern learning environment. It really is a dynamic learning environment. Students think it is a very cool building, and to be honest so did we. It certainly created lots to talk about and the architect talked us through the reasons for this unique design.
This is a vocational school that previously did not have a great reputation. The new building has transformed this. Students come from all over, attitudes, attendance and attainment has really improved. They are engaged and motivated. People want to attend and stay. Students follow a project based curriculum and the school specialises in Technology and Business Studies.
With floating classrooms in the central hall, a non conventional layout, transparency across levels and flexible furniture, climbing wall in the centre of the school Niekée is everything but a traditional school. Around the sociable central space on the ground floor are homebases and workrooms whilst pods project from the first and second floors. Each pod is of a different material, from glass, steel, wood through to gold fabric.
Visiting new environments is a great way to learn from colleagues all around the world. The BCSE study trips play an important contribution in helping inform a whole range of stakeholders. A great experience BCSE and thanks.
(I am sure I will post more stories and photos at a late date)


6 comments:

Anonymous said...

A bit buildings dominated recently Gareth - you usually post a real variety of things....

Gareth Long said...

Thanks for the comment. As I have said I have been visiting a lot of schools recently.. but there will be a several posts on a range of topics soon, in fact just wait for the next post.

Remember this blog really is a form of diary that reflects what I am doing at any one time as I work through the year.

I do welcome the comments though, positive and critical. I still get surprised at the number of readers I get, so thanks for the interest.

G

Anonymous said...

I am not surprised you are building dominated, what with the number of novel schools/learning centres going up. It would be interesting to hear from the teachers in these places so we know what's going on. Maybe someone has their own blog describing life in a new 21st century learning space? Many of us are probably going to end up in similar buildings in the next few years. I would love to hear more about them.

Gareth Long said...

A good point.... if any one knows of a blog like this please do let me know so I can post a link..

I know of a small number of 'underground' or 'anti' blogs but they offer little in the way of reasonable or balanced comment.

Anonymous said...

underground and anti blogs offer LITTLE in the way of reasonable or balanced comment?

so they do offer SOME reasonable and balanced comments. theres a grain of truth in that is another way of saying it. why not give us the address of these blogs so we as reasonably intelligent people can work it out for ourselves? or at least suggest the address of the least offensive.

Gareth Long said...

Hi

The reason I haven't linked to them is simply that the person who sent the links to me did so as a matter of interest, accompanied by the request that I did not publish them. I am not sure of the reasons for this.

I get quite a lot of comments, I always try to honour requests when asked.

G