“Collaboration is the best way to work. It’s only way to work, really. Everyone’s there because they have a set of skills to offer across the board.” By Antony Starr
This past week I went to Edspace 2014. This was a unique experience as I have thought about what furniture a classroom needs but I never knew how much design really goes into schools and furniture. One session I went to I learned a lot about how to turn media centers into learning commons but when I started thinking about it, I realized it shouldn’t be limited to the learning commons but across classrooms.
David Thornburg wrote an article called ‘Campfires in Cyberspace: Primordial Metaphors for Learning in the 21st Century‘ (great read) and the presentation I saw was adapted from his work. Learning Commons or classrooms should have different ‘primordial learning metaphors’ in layman’s terms = zones. Here are the different zones Thornburg says you should have:
Campfire: This space is where you learn from instruction. It fosters conversation and sharing between teacher and students.
Watering Hole: This space is where you learn from peers. It is a space for collaboration and sharing to take place.
Cave Spaces: This space is where you learn from yourself. It is a space where you can work on your own, reflect and think. This space is quiet and ‘hideaway’
Life: Is where you bring it all together and apply it to the real world.
I also learned the rooms need to be flexible, adaptable and have a variety. These terms are not interchangeable but have specific distinctions. According to the presenters, these terms were adapted from the book: The Language of School Design: Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools.
Adaptable: Allows for change over time. Ex. removing a low bearing wall
Flexible: Allows opportunities for users to change the space themselves over the course of a week. Ex. Movable walls, larger furniture that is on casters (bookshelf)
Variety: Allows users to change the quality of their space moving to another area daily. Ex. Chairs and desks that are on casters
I would love to know how you design your classroom space. I would also love to know if you have used Thornburg’s research, what are your thoughts and results from your experience.