Physical Space Design

Learning Studio physical space design is the transformation of traditional classrooms, libraries and labs from rooms designed with a singular purpose to a multipurpose orchestrated space for learning and making. Learning Studios often use a variety of school, work and home furniture combined with building materials and/or technology that helps facilitate student engagement within a face-to-face learning environment.

 



GROUPWERK is transforming learning communities through physical space design that replaces traditional fixed furniture and equipment in classrooms with mobile and/or modular furniture and technology. I have coined a term and style to encapsulate such learning environments and call it, MobiMod™.

The MobiMod™ style of using casters and self-adjusting height furniture is a natural progression once teachers fully experience inquiry-based and project-based models of learning. From these experiences with students, many teachers want to then physically design a room layout that matches how they now teach. 

Having mobile furniture within a inquiry/project-based classroom changes how activities are set up and group behavior occurs for students. MobiMod is about student interactions, collaboration and movement. It blows up the notion that learning best occurs while sitting in the same fixed spot everyday, listening to a teacher at the same front wall teaching in direct instruction modeMy consultation services strive to provide insight and strategies to educators working to optimize teaching and learning that helps create the pedagogical shift from teacher-centered learning to student-centered learning.

GROUPWERK also challenges the mindset that classroom physical space like the carpet or floor is for only the very young. It is our mission here to begin to change that mindset by providing alternatives to traditional stand and deliver classroom layouts. Imagine applying Montessori methods with moving furniture and floor matting made for teenagers, then you are starting to get the picture of MobiMod learning environments.

Also, think about Starbucks, PaneraBarnes & Noble and other gathering spaces as eclectic models for 21st century study spaces. K-12 schools could learn something from these smart companies that sell comfort as a place to multi-task while you consume their products. 

Many American corporations have also transformed from individual employees working in cubicles, to organized teams working in open collaborative spaces. Back in the industrial age, K-12 education modeled the factory-row workplace. We now just need to move American schools into this collaborative century and model our teaming-based workplaces.

The Desk and Chair Caster as a Game Changer in Education

How could something so simple as caster wheels for desks, tables and chairs revolutionize current educational practices? Computer laptops/tablets and interactive whiteboards often are the first hardware items that come to mind when thinking of 21st century learning environments. If pedagogical foundations of project-based and collaborative learning are helping to shape progressive instructional strategies, then we should first look at replacing the dead-weight furniture that can't be easily moved around. Casters create furniture that students and teachers can easily move to form a variety of large and small group learning spaces. Crafting Engaging Learning Environments start with a bunch of little plastic wheels! 
caster graphic adapted from coolcasters.com 
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