The Biz Journal posted a recent article about emerging design trends for learning spaces. Academic sector was always challenged by the achievement gap among students triggered by several factors such as: socioeconomic status, learning style, parental involvement and access to technology. Covid 19 the effects imposed by these factors have been magnified.
Efforts to face and address many of these challenges were already underway, school districts are starting to adopt some design trends that promote student-centered spaces that accommodate a variety of learning leverage technology, styles and that promote inclusivity.
“Beginning at the front door, innovations that reduce touch points and incorporate hygienic behaviors are likely here to stay. Strategies like visual cues on walls and floors, touchless bathrooms, and antimicrobial door hardware should become commonplace”.
Let’s review some key points highlighted in the article:
Technology: Instruction now must provide multiple technological formats, design should always plan for in person and remote learning. This can be ensured with technology tools such “ Wi-Fi and data infrastructure”. Classroom design should support “content creation by teachers and students, while mobile devices will continue to allow for learning in the classroom, the library, the hallway, outdoors or at home”.
Student centered: “Guide on the side” is an approach where teachers facilitate individual and small-groups learning. To do so, it is vital to have flexible learning environments “with areas supporting project-based learning, small group instruction and collaborative work”. These learning areas provide ample space and flexible furniture ”to allow students to move from individual work to group activities, converted seamlessly to support hybrid teaching models, where content is taught remotely, and project-based work is accomplished on days when students are in the classroom”.
Flexibility: Flexible spaces with movable walls, flexible furniture and seating that supports a range of uses “from one-on-one to small group to class or community meeting” is a design trend that is here to stay. Students will be able to “make greater use of comfortable spaces that provide an opportunity for a change of scenery that many schools have been investing in. The ability to relax while learning makes the school day less rigid and more enjoyable”.
Evolution of school spaces: physical schools will always be very important for the students' development. “Beyond the classroom, the benefits at school include socialization, support services, extra-curricular activities, and yearly milestone events like concerts, art shows and graduations”. The value that schools spaces offer can not be replicated at home such as “science labs, sports facilities, playgrounds, art studios, maker spaces, and performance spaces” Design trends of the future will focus on these areas resulting in exciting innovations.
At MKThink we are also looking at how learning environments can adapt to our evolving needs over time and how those spaces are designed considering factors such as wellbeing and safety.
To read more about the article discussed above: https://www.bizjournals.com/albany/news/2021/12/01/how-the-learning-environment-pivoted-post-pandemic.html
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