Learning Environment and effects on learning
In 2003, the Herschong Mahone group conducted a series of studies on indoor environments and student performance. Their findings support the following general conclusions:
Physical characteristics of classrooms have an impact on student learning and are as important and are likely to affect student learning as much as other pieces commonly given more attention.
Classroom environments are as significant and of equal or greater importance as teacher characteristics, number of computers, or attendance rates in predicting student performance.
Classroom windows are important for learning. Views that include an abundance of natural light, flora and people actively engaged remotely are linked with improved student learning.
Glare, especially from direct sunlight can negatively impact student learning. The impact is particularly true for math learning.
Sound is also very important in a learning environment. Conditions such as continual noise from equipment or too much noise from a hallway have proven negative impacts on learning.
Additionally, poor indoor air quality can lower student performance.
Design that supports the learning research - 4D Learning
Randy Fielding oversees FNI’s primary mission: to improve learning by serving as a world leader in the creation of new and renovated educational campuses that are in consonance with best practices, current research and reflect 21st century learning modalities. Randy’s experience spans from early childhood to the university level, and includes international guidelines on school design. The common thread is an integrated approach to pedagogy and design — student learning and outcomes always come first.
Excellent overview of various learning spaces, including hallways, libraries, conference spaces. The Language of School design is a seminal work because it defines a new graphic vocabulary that synthesizes learning research with best practice in school planning and design. But it is more than a book about ideas. It is also a practical tool and a must-have resource for all school stakeholders involved in planning, designing and constructing new and renovated schools and evaluating the educational adequacy of existing school facilities.
Prakash Nair is the President and Founding Partner of Fielding Nair International. He is a futurist, a visionary planner, architect and one of the world’s leading change agents in school design. He is also the Managing Editor of DesignShare.com which attracts over two million visitors each year. He is the recipient of several international awards including the prestigious CEFPI MacConnell Award, the top honor worldwide for school design. He has written extensively in leading international journals about school design and educational technology and their connection to established educational research. He is also the author of two guidebooks on school planning including the landmark publication, The Language of School Design which he co-authored with Randall Fielding.
This book focuses on flexible spaces. It also has a great introduction to the history of school design and the reasons we have been slow to change. The United States has about $10.5 trillion tied up in aging school facilities. School districts throughout the country spend about $30 billion every year keeping this infrastructure going. Yet almost all of the new money we pour into school facilities reinforces an existing--and obsolete--model of schooling. In Blueprint for Tomorrow, Prakash Nair advocates for the "alignment" of the design of places in which we teach and learn with student-centered learning and 4D Learning practices. Blueprint for Tomorrow provides simple, affordable, and versatile ideas for adapting or redesigning school spaces to support student-centered learning.
Created by an international team of architects and designers concerned about our failing education system, The Third Teacher explores the critical link between the school environment and how children learn, and offers 79 practical design ideas, both great and small, to guide efforts to improve our schools. This book is intended to create discussion and initiative about environment as an essential element of learning. Including a wealth of interviews, facts, statistics, and stories from experts in a wide range of fields, this book is a how-to guide to be used to connect with the many organizations, individuals, and ideas dedicated to innovating and improving teaching and learning. Contributors include children’s singer and advocate Raffi, author and creativity consultant Sir Ken Robinson, scientist and environmentalist David Suzuki, inventor James Dyson, and other experts who are working to create fresh solutions to problems and create a new blueprint for the future of education.
From the Standford University School of Design, it is based on the work at the Stanford d.school and its Environments Collaborative Initiativel of Design. There are many examples of combining space and furniture to promote a culture of thinking and collaboration. This book is the result of the d-school being forced to move 10 times in 10 years because of construction. Make Space is a tool that shows how space can be intentionally manipulated to ignite creativity. This guide offers novel and non-obvious strategies for changing surroundings specifically to enhance the ways in which teams and individuals communicate, work, play--and innovate.
Related Articles on learning space design
This not an article, but a link to the Fielding Nair web site where they list many examples of their work in many school across the world. Good place to look at sample projets.
"There are at least two lessons from this story.
The physical structure of a classroom is a critical variable in affecting student morale and learning.
Students' involvement in the process of creating their environment can empower them, develop community and increase motivation." [From the site]
"An icon from the earliest days at the d.school, the “z-rack” is a mindful hack that has literally transformed the way we work. Scott Doorley and George Kembel originally modified garment racks to create inexpensive (and plentiful) dry-erase surfaces to facilitate and capture the process of being visual with ideas. The z-racks unintentionally became excellent tools for partitioning and creating team spaces. They have become core tools in creating our teaching landscape." [From the site]
"The spaces we create in our schools say a lot about what we want and how we want students to learn. I’m not sure which comes first, a new approach to learning or the space to support it. But I believe that if we make our classrooms more like coffee shops, together, with our students, we could figure it out."
"The school takes advantage of the flexibility that is allowed when learning takes place through digital media. Since the school considers one of its biggest learning tools to be the laptop, students aren’t bound to desks or even chairs. If working in a group, students can gather around a large table to use a computer. If working by themselves, they can use their laptops virtually anywhere."
Related multimedia on learning space design
Randall Fielding: This is an excellent 17 minute video that includes Mr. Fielding's philosophy of school design and his story on how he got where he is in his design thinking.
Randall Fielding: This is a "Ted-Talk" type format where Fielding does a nice job describing how he approaches incorporating space design with student-centered learning.
For all video created by Fielding Nair International,