Saturday, 25 December 2010

Social Learning Spaces

I was fortunate to briefly visit Education City in Qatar earlier this month... inside one of the four universities on site I was really impressed by one of the versatile students social spaces - large, cool, very high quality. The seating, being largely cushions are easily movable if the space is needed for a presentation or other event... The space, along with a water feature, was one that you wanted to stay in, to meet and work in....

I'm always saying it, but these types of spaces are really important not just in universities but also in schools as well. Many students now learn considerable amounts in social ways / spaces in addition to more formal teaching approaches. Some would say that they learn more.
Social learning spaces are always amongst the first things to be 'value engineered' out when looking for cost saving measures. If not totally removed they become too small to be really effective. All it demonstrates is that some decision makers really have no idea how young people learn these days.
Learning spaces do have to look different and be able to work in different ways.... 'cells and bells' are NOT the be all and end all of learning - we know that, as do many countries around the world - so why do so many people try and replicate the past and not look forward?
One University in Education City, Qatar
Even the outside reminds people why they are there

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