Beware of the Word ‘Flexible’: Architect Danish Kurani on Designing 21st Century Schools (EdSurge News)

“Flexible.” It’s a word that often pops up in conversations about redesigning learning environments, relating to choices in furniture or movable walls. But according to Danish Kurani, redesigning 21st century classrooms goes much deeper than merely achieving flexibility—it involves going all the way back to considering Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Danish Kurani
Kurani is a licensed architect who focuses his work on learning spaces, and currently teaches a “Learning Environments for Tomorrow” course at the Harvard Graduate School of Education every year. Having worked on locations ranging from Denver’s Columbine Elementary to SELNY, a psychotherapy clinic and adult learning center in New York, Kurani has seen and used a variety of tactics to implement learning design in pursuit of specific goals.

This week, EdSurge sat down with him to hear about the most common design constraints, architecture gone wrong, and the work his firm recently conducted on the Code Next Lab in Oakland. Check out the Q&A below, or the recording on the EdSurge podcast.

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Indeed, the FLEX in FLEXspace isn’t just about flexible spaces, we must also consider learning outcomes and activities, needs of individual instructors and students using the spaces, and more.

 

“Flexible.” It’s a word that often pops up in conversations about redesigning learning environments, relating to choices in furniture or movable walls. But according to Danish Kurani, redesigning 21st century classrooms goes much deeper than merely achieving flexibility—it involves going all the way back to considering Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

 

Kurani is a licensed architect who focuses his work on learning spaces, and currently teaches a “Learning Environments for Tomorrow” course at the Harvard Graduate School of Education every year. Having worked on locations ranging from Denver’s Columbine Elementary to SELNY, a psychotherapy clinic and adult learning center in New York, Kurani has seen and used a variety of tactics to implement learning design in pursuit of specific goals.

 

This week, EdSurge sat down with him to hear about the most common design constraints, architecture gone wrong, and the work his firm recently conducted on the Code Next Lab in Oakland. Check out the Q&A below, or the recording on the EdSurge podcast.

We’re designing schools of the future with tools of the past—and it’s hurting our education

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“We invest literally billions of dollars and years of effort into improvements in education around the world, but we fall short at the final step. We’re making leapfrog-like advancements in nearly every aspect of education, yet when it comes to thinking about and investing in the learning spaces themselves, we are woefully behind. We are building a state-of-the-art Formula 1 engine in the body of an old, broken-down Buick, and wondering why the car won’t go as fast as we thought it would.”

K-12 Schools Embrace Anytime, Anywhere Learning

Districts go beyond reconfiguring classrooms and prepare students to take their learning mobile.

The word classroom may conjure up a certain image: chalkboards, a large desk in the front of the room for the teacher and rows of individual desks.

Increasingly, though, schools are ditching the seating chart in those often claustrophobia-inducing rooms and embracing all parts of the building. Hallways, stairwells and other parts of the school now are becoming places to learn too.

Yorkville Community School District 115 in Illinois has spent nearly three years planning and executing a major renovation and expansion of its high school building.

While the impetus was overcrowding — small classrooms, tight hallways, a dark library that had low ceilings and a lack of dedicated athletic spaces — Yorkville did more than just add room, says Technology Director Ryan Adkins.

“The whole goal was to make every space in our building a learning space, whether it was a hallway, a classroom or the locker bays,” he says.

Yorkville’s classrooms now are filled with rolling chairs, maneuverable student desks and the most up-to-date technology, allowing teachers to continuously redesign their classroom space for all types of student ­collaborations and interactive lessons. And when students aren’t in class, they’re still ­collaborating all over the school, including in newly renovated common spaces.

“It’s kind of that college feel,” Adkins says.

Read more at…..Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.edtechmagazine.com