I've spent the past three days working closing with architects, educators, and researchers from around the world to consider how we might best design learning environment not just for tomorrow but for today.
All too often, we are caught up in a futurist model of education - hoping to plan buildings with with the bells and whistles that our students might need in the future. Instead, we should be design environments that support rich pedagogy and can adapt over time.
1) Architects and educators should work together as co-designers of learning experiences.
2) Begin with people in mind. For whom are we designing? What are their needs, assets, and aspirations?
3) Develop a list of design principles. Several examples can be found below. When difficult decision need to be make, come back to these.
4) Then consider programs and pedagogy. What programs and ways of learning will best support this community and draw upon their existing strengths?
5) Only then, start to plan. What might this look like in action? Work with a diverse team and include the fewest people required to create action. This could be 5 or 100. Ideally, break into teams of 6.
6) Prototype to test. What do you need to find out about your prototype? How can you test aspects of the learning experience before building?