FLEWELLING & MOODY has been engaged with Facilities Master Planning projects for many Southern California school districts. Architects and Planning professionals from F&M lead policy meetings with the school districts’ chief administrators, facilities specialists, teachers, parents and students. The overarching theme is how can
we have our districts and schools encapsulate a “21st Century Learning Environment”? For those of you have not already heard of this concept, below is a list of some of its key principles in a nutshell.
- Access to technology for all students and educators
- Architecture and Interior design that supports collaboration and intellectual development
- Libraries will not only house books but serve as Media Hubs where students will have access to the latest technology such as touch screen technology with access to the Common Core for instructors, iPad that are equipped with educational apps, computers, etc.
- Mobile walls and furniture to support the technologically savvy end user
- Learning is no longer limited to classrooms as it has become mobile and virtual
Picking up on a trend here? TECHNOLOGY.TECHNOLOGY. TECHNOLOGY. We have arrived at a stage where classroom connectivity is a necessity and the infrastructure of the school should reflect it. Although students are more than eager to accept new iPADs, vlogs (video blogs), and collaboration via social networks into their school’s curriculum, some educators may be adverse to this evolutionary change.
In concurrence with introducing the 21st Century Learning Environment to schools, FLEWELLING & MOODY suggests the following programs and practices for Districts and Schools to ensure a successful progression into 21st Century Learning:
- Develop Familiarity
Weekly informal training seminars for staff to review how technology can help educators further develop their classroom curriculum. Corporations have already taken advantage of Lunch & Learns to educate business staff, let this successful business model transmute into your school’s weekly teacher education program by engaging with local and national businesses that will be more than happy to provide demonstrations of their education focused tech products.
- Job Growth and Creation
Innovative IT personnel are necessary entities for schools as they are for the modern day office. IT staff will be able to provide assistance during internet downtime, or if a teacher requires assistance with a defective device.
- Help Me to Help You
Allow staff members who are already tech savvy to take a leadership role and assist their colleagues when the IT personnel are busy fumigating viruses.
- Encourage Extended Learning
Host professional training seminars to learn the ins and outs of tablets, notebooks, and touch screens – training seminars can be supported by local businesses who wish to help out local communities and at the same time strengthen the public’s awareness of their brand.
- One Step at a Time
Similar to the old cliché that “Rome was not built in a day”, the transition to 21st Century Learning Environments does not need to happen overnight. Schools can introduce 21st Century Learning Environments by creating a couple of 21st Century Learning Environment classrooms where students and teachers can take turns experimenting with a completely immersive learning environment.
Digital Literacy will soon become a core requirement for educators and school staff members. Educators who have a gift of inspiring students to pursue knowledge now have an unparalleled opportunity to utilize a vast network of information and technologies to enhance the student’s learning experience.