Get Active: Reimagining Learning Spaces for Student Success
I got my copy of Get Active: Reimagining Learning Spaces for Student Success at ISTE 2015 this summer in Philadelphia. I love reading about and studying learning space design theory. I truly feel that innovative learning environments can transform how our students learn. This book is an excellent introduction to active learning spaces and strategies we can use in designing and redesigning learning spaces, from hacking our furniture to working with architects on new construction.
“Even teachers who embrace active learning pedagogies and who know how to integrate technology into the curriculum are handcuffed by ineffective learning environments: classrooms that don’t support communication and collaboration; chairs too big and heavy for students to move; desks and tables that hinder group work, mentoring, information sharing and content creation.” ~Sean Corcorran, General Manager, Steelcase Education
Learning Environments and Personalized Learning
A huge focus of this book was the way that an active learning environment can support personalized learning, the four C’s (creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking), and digital age learning. I love how the authors brought in some of these important terms in the education lexicon and demonstrated the impact physical environment can have on them. When it comes to writing grants and advocating for changes in learning spaces, having vocabulary like this is essential.
“Furniture, on its own, doesn’t create an optimal learning environment; but it can support one.”
One thing I love about this book is that it doesn’t leave out the pedgogy. You can have a classroom full of amazing, state-of-the-art collaborative furniture, but if the teacher is still teaching with the lecture/regurgitate facts/repeat method, learning won’t be transformed. The authors emphasize providing support and training for teachers who will be utilizing new learning spaces so that their pedagogy can make effective use of the space.One thing that I love about the book Get Active is that it doesn't leave out the pedagogy. Click To Tweet
The book provides a fantastic list of the various types of learning spaces schools should support: small-group areas, large-group areas, technology-rich areas, quiet, solitary areas, community accessible areas and makerspaces. As I’ve gone through the process of transforming the physical space of my library, I had a lot of these functions in mind. It also goes into detail about things to consider when looking for furniture (comfort, ergonomics, flexibility, mobility & durability) and other things to think about for your space (storage, writable surfaces, lighting, displays, etc)
“The space should encourage all students to take over the reins of their own learning, and grow their curiosity and expertise beyond their comfort zones.”
Books recommended in this book:
I always like to see where authors get their inspiration. I’ve read several of these books and I can attest to the fact that they’re pretty awesome.
- From the Campfire to the Holodeck: Creating Engaging and Powerful 21st Century Learning Environments
- How the Brain Learns
- Color, Environment, & Human Response
- Tinkering: Kids Learn by Making Stuff
- The Maker Movement Manifesto: Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers, and Tinkerers
- The Third Teacher (my review here)
- Make Space: How to Set the Stage for Creative Collaboration (my review here)
- The Language of School Design: Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools
Check out Get Active
If you haven’t read Get Active yet, I highly recommend getting yourself a copy. Whether you’re planning a large scale renovation or just want to change up the environment in your classroom or library, you’ll find good ideas in here.