Monday, October 1, 2012

Space As A Change Agent

Sharing highlights from the e-book Space As A Change Agent.

The emphasis today is on active construction of knowledge by the learner. The importance of prior experience, the fitting of knowledge into existing schema or the establishment of new schema, and the active processing of information are all components of this model that emphasize high learner involvement. Environments that provide experience, stimulate the senses, encour-age the exchange of information, and offer opportunities for rehearsal, feedback, application, and transfer are most likely to support learning. 

Spaces that are harmonious with learning theory and the needs of current students reflect several elements: Flexibility. A group of learners should be able to move from listening to one speaker (traditional lecture or demonstration) to working in groups (team or project-based activities) to working independently (reading, writing, or access-ing print or electronic resources). While specialized places for each kind of activity (the lecture hall, laboratory, and library carrel) can accommodate each kind of work, the flow of activities is often immediate. It makes better sense to construct spaces capable of quick reconfiguration to support different kinds of activity

Decenteredness. Emphasizing the principles of socioconstructivism, spaces must convey co-learning and co-construction of knowledge. Implications for architecture include thinking of the whole campus as a learning space rather than emphasizing classrooms

The key, therefore, is to provide a physical space that supports multidisciplinary, team-taught, highly interactive learning unbound by traditional time constraints within a social setting that engages students and faculty and enables rich learning experiences

real community, however, exists only when its members interact in a meaningful way that deepens their understanding of each other and leads to learning. Many equate learning with the acquisition of facts and skills by students; in a community, the learn-ers—including faculty—are enriched by collective meaning-making, mentorship, encouragement, and an understanding of the perspectives and unique qualities of an increasingly diverse membership.

that in a world where wireless connectivity is increasingly ubiquitous, and with wireless devices that enable navigating a proverbial sea of digital resources, practically anywhere but the classroom is an informal learning space. The majority of space on any wirelessly networked college or university campus is informal learning space. On campuses not fully wirelessly enabled, the preponderance of informal learning spaces still exists, but the potential for them to be recognized and “activated” depends on the disposition of the digital learners and the tasks they wish to accomplish. 

The learning commons is human-centered. The term learning signals a significant change: the focus is not just finding information but applying that information in productive ways to deepen and strengthen learning as well as to construct knowledge
 
If people aren't comfortable and don't have a sense of well-being, they become distracted. We must first consider what will make people feel comfortable, freeing their brains and bodies for learning.

Social, community space. Learning is a social activity. Community and social space connects individuals with other people and other activities. Students and faculty participate in a mutual endeavor—learning—and forge connections that reinforce learning and create a sense of belonging.

People learn from other people. If the environment limits random encounters, discourages conversation, or provides no comfortable place to sit, learning opportunities are lost.