Essentials Magazine Essentials Spring 2018 - Page 26

Learning Spaces FLEXIBLE may translate into several design opportunities. Solutions are of- ten categories as items with castors, fair- ly lightweight tables easily moved, and items that are ‘wrenchable,’ but all with predictable and set patterns for alter- ation. An example of wrenchable might be an open office cubicle situation. It can be moved, but not easily, but it is not built into the building. The chal- lenge with ‘flexible’ is that most often furnishings are heavy, or awkward and thus not easily reconfigured. So, guess what? They don’t get reconfigured. In fact, these flexible places become more fixed just for the fact that items are not easy to move. knowledge (i.e., one-to-many), and may utilize a projector and screen to support a visual connection to the content accompanying the verbal one. Often we think of the design solutions as fixed seating, (see FIG- URE 2) or tiered lecture halls. Here and places within a room(s) are need- ed to orchestrate these situations successfully — a flexible solution is best here (refer back to FIGURE 3). Fig. 3.Flexible / Multi-modal-style Mode Fig. 2. Fixed / Lecture-style Mode ing, and of course the building’s entire structure and infrastructure. translate to a swivel seat on a chair, a clicker that allows for a digital screen to be changed, and lights/temperature changed with the flick of a control – perhaps like a Google home devise. Little movement or rearrangement is required in a fluid situation, and all are not predictable. Where students choose to move in a chair with wheels is not necessarily in a specific pattern. If these examples illustrate a ‘design language’ for educators to interpret, how might designers interpret the educators’ needs with a variety of teaching practices? Teaching practices have a contin- uum of sorts as well from the very traditional lecture to a simultaneous, multi-modal strategy, to a fully opera- tional tinker/maker/production space as some of the most creative. Each of these practices elicits strategies and places that must support them. Types of strategies might also include problem-based, project-based, inqui- ry-based, etc. approaches to deliver content. Each evokes a particular behavior for both the student and the educator, and over time these behav- iors become ‘conditioned,’ or expect- ed. Some examples are next. A lecture as we have come to understand it is teacher-centric. The teacher comes in prepared to share 26 essentials | spring 2018 students should be in active listen- ing mode, perhaps taking notes, but nothing more is typically expected. In the second practice described, the multi-modal strategy (see FIGURE 3), and it could be likened to a one- room schoolhouse, or more stu- dent-focused. Thus, in a simultaneous, multi-modal strategy, multiple learn- ing activity situations, and content de- livery approaches are going on at the same time and in fact some students may be leading certain components while the educator leads others. This type of one-to-one, peer-to-peer and small group to whole group situations strategies are incorporated. Here the educator is more of the ‘guide on the side’ acting as a facilitator allowing students to discover on their own in a pre-planned and purposeful strategy(ies). Maker / Tinker spaces may be grouped into this sector as well. However, the teaching prac- tice model here might require more of an ‘apprentice / master’ model. Equipment items may be fixed into place, but the process of the making involves moving from one area to another in order to actually finish a particular item. Thus, multiple types of postures, equipment, technologies FLUID in the design sense might Depending upon the type and more importantly the equipment required; a balance must be struck between students being on their own and the educator directing their discovery. For a fluid solution, the most student-centric mode, the simplest and most impactful furniture solution is a swivel chair (see Figure 4). The individual does not have to recon- figure anything and can simply and easily move slightly or swivel entirely without getting out of one’s seat. He/ she can connect to others, or see con- tent wherever it might be presented. This final scenario acts in much the same way as the multimodal ones, however it is fully student-centric with the teaching practice strategy focused on the experience of each