Make learners conform to the room, or make the room conform to the learning? #EdSpace


That’s what a small can of chalkboard paint cost at a hardware store nearby. With several cans of chalkboard paint and a few cans of whiteboard paint, a lower school teacher transformed the learning environment for the student learners coming to her soon.

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Instead of students “getting in trouble” for writing on the desks, Miss F altered the typical “classroom” environment so that desk writing was not only permissible, but encouraged and fun.

For 1st graders. Learning to write and express themselves through writing.

When the student learners gathered in the room for the first time, during a recent orientation day, there was much writing and drawing on desks! They owned their learning environment with those acts of defiance turned and transformed into acts of creativity.

And should the student learners tire of sitting, there are standing-level desks and exercise balls to bounce on while one learns. A far cry from “Sit still!”

What an act of transformation. To reverse the typical paradigm. Instead of expecting students to bear the lion’s share of conforming to the rules of the room, the rules of the room were re-conformed to promote the desired dispositions and learning explorations of the student learners!

And with such a flip in conformity expectations, transformations are made possible. And deep relationships forged.

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Recent, incredible resources on space re-design:

“8 Tips and Tricks to Redesign Your Classroom,” Edutopia, August 6, 2013, by David Bill (@DavidSBill) and The Third Teacher+ (@TheThirdTeacher)

CHANGEd: What if we connected students with city design projects? 60-60-60 #52

One dynamic way to help schools move into “21st century” education – full of project-based learning, design thinking, and integrated studies – would be to partner secondary-school students with local architects, city planners and developers, new urbanists, sustainability scientists, etc.

In this 52nd post, what if we moved from a scholastic house of cards…to education that blurred more boundaries between school and real life?!


Thanks to my PLN (personal learning network), I have been exposed to a few more profound thinkers and resources concerning school as ecosystem, learning-spaces evolution, etc.

 [View the story “Evolution of learning space…from 3D to 4D” on Storify]

Another great, related resource: Matthias Hollwich’s talk at TEDxAtlanta RE:Purpose, January 26, 2010 (this is when I first began to ask, “What if we could partner Synergy students with people like Matthias, working on future-city projects?”)

And another great, related resource: Announcing the 2012 TED Prize Winner – The City 2.0

Yet another great, related resource: Grant Lichtman’s blog, The Learning Pond

CHANGEd: What if…60-60-60 Project Explained