If I could design a school today I would want a school that provided rooms that allowed students to learn in a manner that best suited their physical needs. I would want the physical rooms to be awash in as much natural sunlight as possible and opportunities to take the learning outdoors as often as possible. Seating situations would maximize collaborative learning opportunities. I would also like to see classrooms that provide physical supports for promoting healthy, engaged students.For example, I would like to see traditional desks swapped with standing desks that adjust to both a seated and standing position. As an adult, how often do you enjoy sitting all day long?
A classroom in my ideal school is clearly student centred with the teacher having many opportunities to be a co-learner and this would be reflected in the fact that the teacher’s desk would not be front and centre with all student desks aligned and facing the teacher for his/her delivery of information.
All rooms in the school would support technology enabled learning. A variety of devices would be available for all students to access, record, share and demonstrate their learning. When adults attend conferences they are often plugged into more than one device. How can we expect one device to meet the needs of all our learning opportunities?
These multiple devices would be readily available within each and every classroom. Technology would be embedded throughout the day and seamlessly integrated into the most effective teaching and learning practices. Technology will be the expectation and not an event. Students would not make their way to computer labs and libraries for regulated tech use.
From the classroom, to the learning commons, to the lunchroom, students and staff would have access to WIFI that would support the use of multiple devices. Bandwidth would not be an issue. There would be no such thing as a “Dead Zone”. Tech enabled learning would no longer be defined by the traditional classroom walls. It will happen anywhere, anytime. We know that the Internet has changed the way we learn. We are no longer dependent upon educators to provide the facts. Nor are we dependent on framing our learning between schools hours and class periods. Learning happens anywhere, across a variety of platforms and throughout the day and evening. Students need access to a variety of tools and strong bandwidth to ensure the learning is uninterrupted. IT would have the resources to support this school and work in conjunction to support what is best for the learners.
In an ideal school there would be continual opportunities for collaboration with fellow learners both within the walls of the school and within the virtual classroom. All learners would be be provided with time to co-learn. Most importantly time would be provided for reflections because that vital step in the learning process is often the most overlooked.
My school would not only take care of the physical and technical needs of my students, but I would also provide students with the mental health supports that they need to feel safe and secure. Counsellors, medical professionals and spaces designed to support mental health would be key to taking care of the entire student-not just the education part.
The joy in learning, whether it be in the gym as part of team, in the student lounge as part of a club or in a workshop as part of an extra-curricular learning workshop, would be front and centre. There would space, time and money for all members of the school community to work together, learn together and showcase the learning. My school would be connected to its school community. Partnerships and relationships would be empowered with the transparency of the school and the learning and joy occurring there.
The physical structure aside, I would like a school community that supports the learning of ALL its learners. I would like ALL learners to exhibit growth mindset, collaboration, and technology enabled learning skills. I envision a school community that is connected and supportive and working together to enhance the learning occurring in the building while connecting with other learners from across the globe to enhance the learning and collaborative expereince. No matter how well designed it is, and how much WIFI is in place, learners without a growth mindset and a passion to do what is best for learning (for themselves and others) will never benefit from the most well-designed school. The physical space supports our learners but ultimately it is the learners, ALL the learners, that will have the most profound impact on each other and the learning in the building.
Please check out Paul McGuire’s post as part of the #InnovatorsMindset Blog Hop!
Please check out Leigh Cassell’s post as part of the #InnovatorsMindset Blog Hop!
Please check out Donna Fry’s post as part of the #InnovatorsMindset Blog Hop!