Nov 01

Blurring the Lines of the Learning Day Through Disruption, Definition, and Design

By: Valerie Wright

Kerri Rainey, Vice President of Educational Practice with Huckabee in Austin, Texas titled her presentation:  “Disrupt. Define.Design”.

Her firm specializes in K-12 education projects and she leads their clients on in-depth visioning and planning sessions. She also plays an important leadership role at LEx Labs, Huckabee’s research partnership with Region 12 at Baylor University, where the firm is conducting research of how the learning environment impacts student achievement.    The partnership allows for testing breakthrough design concepts, technology and furniture with real learners and educators in a lab setting. This is a way to test resources before they recommend them to clients.

For Disruption, schools should embody disruption as a positive outcome through the building design and furniture.  This doesn’t mean everything is complete chaos.  How do we shift instructional culture in thought, approach and execution to be adaptable and flexible as key elements in providing a dynamic space?  How are we providing products and environments that embrace the collegiate experience to better prepare our students to make the shift from high school to college.  How do we blur the lines of the learning day?    The media center/library, learning commons should be considered a place for learning and instruction as well, not just for a short period of time in the day.  The outdoors has to be seen as part of the overall social experience and learning experience which is used to encourage proper social behavior.  How do we capture spaces that embody these concepts?

  1. Water
  2. Earth
  3. Energy
  4. Air
  5. Collaboration
  6. Interactive
  7. Makerspace

We have to allow our buildings to have a variety of reading niches along with multiple learning opportunities, site line to site line.

In Define, what if we considered skills along with content.  We can get stuck in this play back loop that we become overly intent on content alone and not focus on skills.  The school can define themselves as the type of place they want to be.  Consider Georgetown ISD in Georgetown, Texas.    The Board of Trustees adopted a “District of Innovation” plan.  This gives the district the ability to create and develop their educational model based on their vision, their learners and their beliefs.  The DOI opportunities allow GISD to seek specific innovations to flexible curriculum, unique instruction methods, parent and community involvement, and budgeting options.  Who are you as an educational model?  And what do you aspire to?

The Design portion continues the conversation as to the district’s ideas and philosophy. How does that become part of the design of a new building?  How do we invest the square footage for teacher planning spaces within in an old model where space is seen as a premium and space is not allotted for that planning/creative time?  How can these spaces model maker spaces?

This was all in part to think about our schools in new ways and how our ideas of old aren’t working in today’s world.

Tags: 21st century learning, Architecture, Education Categories: Blog