Thursday, November 12, 2015

Experience, Not Things: Design an #InspiringSpace by Defining the Student Experience

Part 2: Defining the Student Experience
David Jakes
EdTechTeam's Director of Learning Spaces
David Jakes is the Director of Learning Spaces for EdTechTeam and leads the Learning Space Design Studio. The Studio, created to support schools in developing compelling and engaging learning environments, is the most recent addition to the comprehensive services offered by EdTechTeam.

The design of inspiring spaces for learning begins with identifying the student learning experience that you want students to have.  

Have you asked this: What do you want your kids to experience? What constitutes an inspiring experience? If so, then you are ready to go with designing spaces that support that. If not, take the opportunity to craft a set of expectations for learners that defines what kids will do in school.

Developing inspiring spaces is not about technology, it's not about chairs or tables on wheels, it's not about whiteboards, beanbags or other things. It’s about creating the vision for the student experience first. All that “stuff” comes later.

When really good designers create spaces, they ask about the wants and needs of students for their learning. It’s a deep dive beyond the mission and the vision of the school. It’s about looking at learning from multiple angles and perspectives and developing a community-based understanding of a set of ideas that identify what kids should experience as learners.

For example: In this school, students will have the opportunity to engage in learning experiences as an individual and as part of a collaborative team.

Or: In this school, students will have the opportunity to determine how they represent their understanding as well as what tools they will use to do this.

Doing this first captures a set of statements that can set the stage for an inspiring experience that takes place in an inspiring space.

By defining learning like this, the school has effectively created the conditions required for the design of space. If the experience is ___, then the spaces have to be ___ . Creating these expectations for learning first ensures that informed decisions about the “things” of the classroom can be made and that those decisions intentionally guide spatial design.

These decisions can then suggest furniture, colors, lighting, floors, technology - all the stuff that goes into a composition capable of manifesting the experience.

Everyone knows what a classroom looks like. Everyone knows what a library and a school looks like. The true question is not what those spaces look like now, but how can they be intentionally designed to support a new condition for learning based on what you believe that to be.

Try one of these tips to create an #InspiringSpace for your students!


  1. While I was studding, I had to much unnecessary lessons as for me. I'd like my children not to study things they'll possibly will never even need and that too much of their time which they could spend on really important lessons.


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