Reimagining Learning Space: Let Spontaneous Collisions Happen!


Reposted from MindShift:

“There’s no teacher at the front,” says Gensler’s Shawn Gehle. “The rooms are like different scenes in a video game. They inspire active learning.

As K–12 schools refocus on team-based, interdisciplinary learning, they are moving away from standardized, teach-to-test programs that assume a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching. Instead, there is a growing awareness that students learn in a variety of ways, and the differences should be supported. The students often learn better by doing it themselves, so teachers are there to facilitate, not just to instruct. Technology is there as a tool and resource, not as a visual aid or talking head.

When it comes to integrating STEM into classroom space, there are real implications for how teachers interact, says Thaler. “When you put math and science teachers together, they can cross-collaborate on lesson plans. If they’re teaching trigonometry or wave properties in math, they know they have to pull in the physics faculty also.” Schools that embrace STEM end up retraining. “They have to stretch their conception of what’s being taught.” They were inspired by facilities that “let spontaneous collisions happen,” Thaler notes, but the takeaway was less a model than a point of view. Gensler documented it in a paper on STEM education. One of its major findings was that, to succeed, STEM and other interdisciplinary programs need to create propinquity—literally, “nearness” – among their participants.

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