Design for learning: New Classroom Models – Design for learning – Aug 12, 2005

Both K-12 educators and those of us in higher education are trying to find effective ways to align what we know about effective student learning with the contruction and renovation of our classrooms and buildings. Jeffery Lackney, an architect and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, identifies several major learning trends that are shaping (or should be shaping) the design of 21st century schools.

In such an environment, students can set their own agendas with teachers who act as advisers. Some teachers focus on collaborative projects that link to the real world, such as building a community garden.
In response to these trends, designers are replacing traditional classrooms with “studios” that contain storage areas for long-term projects and spaces for individual, small-group and large-group work.

I’ve always been impressed with the kind of communication and commitment that is developed in the studios of artists, actors and musicians and the labs of scientists. I’d like to see us explore what learning resources it would take to create learning spaces that would foster that same kind of learning within the humanities and social sciences. I’d also like to see the college work to incorporate some of the ideas mentioned in this article on natural light and others on sustainable building practices.

William and Mary is about to emark on a major program of renovation that will touch the majority of the academic buildings on campus. We’re also looking at a significant opportunity to bring much of the IT staff into a single building. This notion of “neighborhood groupings might be interesting for us to explore with our architects and planners.

There is a push to build smaller schools, with smaller class sizes. When redesigning large school buildings, architects reconfigure schools into “neighborhood groupings” and remove corridors to make more spaces for learning.

Systematic Support for Teaching and Learning at Tech

EDUCAUSE | Professional Development | Systemic Progress in Teaching and Learning 2005 Award Winners

Virginia Tech has developed a multi-faceted program of supporting teaching and learning through a “suite of supporting programs that include the Center for Innovation in Learning (CIL), Faculty Development Institute (FDI), Graduate Education Development Institute (GEDI), as well as the well-known and frequently emulated Math Emporium, which traces its roots to early FDI workshops.” The newly re-configured “Faculty Digital Center” at William and Mary will attempt to consolidate the best of these programs in a unified organization with collaboration within the Charles Center and Swem Library and with continued very strong connections to the academic departments and programs.

Writing the Living Web

10 Tips on Writing the Living Web: A List Apart

A List Apart is required reading for most of the web developers and designers I know. The comments made about this article on writing for the “living web” imply that many bloggers found the piece to be common sense or common knowledge, but I think it’s a great piece for new web writers–like most of my students. I’ll definitely use this piece as background as part of the blogging assignment for my course this fall.

I think it’s important to students who are using blogs, wikis, Flickr and other social tools to understand that they are participating in a medium that is much different than a book. This new web isn’t made up of “finished, unchanging creations–as polished and as fixed as books or posters”.

For students writing for a class assignment, the following is good advice, though difficult to follow:

If your site belongs to a product, a project, or an enterprise [or a class], you must still find a way to represent its passion and excitement. If you do not understand why your product is compelling or comprehend the beauty of your enterprise, find the reason or [consider not taking the class.

Other good advice for students is to “let the story unfold.” Too few web sites feature good stories built with the tools that creative writers and journalists have developed over the years to gain and sustain interest. This section has some good reminders for experienced writers, and suggests some interesting exercises and assignments for course work.

The Highly Designed Dorm Room

The Highly Designed Dorm Room

One of the highlights of working with students in our fall startup program has been watching the interaction among students and parents in decorating their rooms. Can’t say that I’ve seen anything like this, though.

Patrick Baglino, a Dupont Circle designer, works with multimillion-dollar budgets. He’s decorated mansions in Spring Valley, New York lofts in SoHo, homes in Kalorama and Georgetown, waterfront condos in Florida. He also does dorm rooms.

A recent makeover for two friends at Georgetown University included Ralph Lauren bed linens, window treatments from Anthropologie and a $1,200 Angela Adams carpet. Total price: about $5,000, not including Baglino’s fees.

One interesting statisic was that the average entering freshman spends $1,200 on school items. (This must exclude computers, I would think.) Aggregate figures are pretty impressive:

The breakdown: $7.5 billion on electronics, $8.8 billion on textbooks, $3.2 billion on clothing and accessories, $2.6 billion on dorm or apartment furnishings, $2.1 billion on school supplies, and $1.5 billion on shoes.