Friday, 14 May 2010

The Third Teacher and student's ideas for new classrooms

A great post was posted on The Third Teacher blog, noting the result of a visit to the oWp/p Cannon Design offices by students of the Academy of Global Citizenship. oWp/p / Cannon Design is the driving force behind The Third Teacher. The resulting write up describing their thoughts for future learning environments is a delight. Their thoughts are published below in full.

May 13, 2010 – AGC students design the classroom of the future

Chantelle Brewer is an Architect at OWP/P | Cannon Design in Chicago. She recently helped organize a field trip for the students of the Academy for Global Citizenship to visit our office. She talks about that experience here:

"It was morning and the office was quiet. People sipped their coffee and tapped at keyboards. We knew they were coming, but we couldn’t have guessed how much energy and knowledge they would bring with them. Then, at 9:45 am fifty students from the Academy for Global Citizenship (AGC) arrived at our office for a tour and to present their work to us.

The children had been working over the past several weeks on designing a classroom of the future. They brought models, drawings and writing that illustrated their visions of a redesigned classroom. The classrooms they created were inspired by delight in learning as well as knowledge of how they learn best. Students designed places for fun and movement as well as places for quiet, thoughtful moments. They proposed hammocks for resting and "calming down," tree house libraries for a quiet place to read and "fireman's poles" for getting from one floor to the next. One student designed a math trampoline; you could bounce on the answer "so you could exercise while solving math problems."

Many students designed ways to connect with nature while at school. Their models showed skylights or roof windows to provide natural light in the room and let students "see birds flying by, clouds passing" and "to see it rain." One student's classroom included a bubbling fountain with a fish pond; she explained that "the sound of the water would be soothing and we can learn about the fish." Another student offered an idea about a trickling waterwall that would help to cool the room when it got too hot.

AGC students designed classrooms that reflect that they learn everywhere, not just in the classroom, not just while sitting at a table or desk. They created active learning environments. When do we start to separate work and play? Why can't we play while working and learn while playing? Somewhere between kindergarten and 2nd grade, we start asking students to do focused work and to save the play time for the 20 minute recess break. The students of AGC showed that they want to learn everywhere: in their classrooms, at home, outside and even in an architecture office."

For those who do not know this resource, I do really recommend it. Regular readers know that I have referred to it a number of times. The Third Teacher should really be with every teacher and educator.

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