Movement and space can increase collaboration and student outcomes
This blog post is a summary of the post, "Creating a Space for Inquiry" on the blog Inquirying Minds. It's written by Kenneth Olson, Dean of Students at Plymouth High in Plymouth, Indiana. Read his post here.
Integrating technology into the classroom is about more than providing students internet-accessible devices. It can mean transforming the physical space in which students learn. Kenneth Olson, Dean of Students at Plymouth High School in Plymouth, Indiana, has taken great care to ensure that the design of his programs encourage creativity, collaboration and inquiry.
Plymouth High School’s School of Inquiry, recently named the “Weidner School of Inquiry at PHS,” is a space designed to encourage digital learning in an advanced way. The space is designed with the idea of collaboration in mind. Inside, you’ll find solid, large tables – this encourages students to see each other around the table to exchange opinions and ideas, as well as present projects. Detachable white boards dot the walls. Students use these in class and in Skype sessions with experts who are not in town.
Every chair in the School of Inquiry swivels, rocks and easily moves so that “active students could have some motion even while working at a table with peers.”
Even the hallways at the School of Inquiry have multiple uses. Besides offering a transit route, these spaces have been dubbed, “Flex spaces.” Students are able to collaborate here, as well, and there are digital technologies in this area. “We have created four flex zones each with it's own unique character and furniture. To further aid this process, all classrooms have large windows that allow students to see in, and observe what is happening, and teachers to see out, and thus be able to monitor students who are working in the flex areas during class time.”
Finally, staff at the School of Inquiry, is encouraged to collaborate, as well. Teachers’ desks were removed from classrooms, and there are large conference-like tables in communal spaces, allowing teachers to easily communicate, share ideas and plug into ideas.
How does the physical space of your classroom help or hinder your integration of technology into learning?
This blog post is a summary of the post, "Creating a Space for Inquiry" on the blog Inquirying Minds. It's written by Kenneth Olson, Dean of Students at Plymouth High in Plymouth, Indiana. Read the entire post at http://inquiryngminds.blogspot.com/2012/10/creating-space-for-inquiry.html.