For my current assignment in my Creativity in Teaching and Learning course I was asked to find a space that I find engaging and conducive to creativity. The space I decided on may be surprising as I chose my classroom. I’m fortunate to work in a relatively new school that is well lit, and at least for me, comfortable. I especially like my classroom and try hard to make it a comfortable space for my students as well. I’d encourage you to take a look at the photos below as I tried to capture the things that make it most conducive to productivity and creativity.
An article I read prior to working on this assignment was A room of their own by Mishra, Cain, Sawaya, Henrikson and the Deep-Play Research Group at Michigan State University. One of my big takeaways from that article was that in designing learning spaces teachers are often not a major part of the process. As a result, teachers often end up repurposing resources in creative ways. This is true of the whiteboards in my classroom. I had them cut out of showerboard (although I do admit showerboard wasn’t really designed for teachers). The cost for five boards and the duct tape was less than $15. These are a staple in my classroom. However I think the broader point is that when designing a space, for any purpose, it’s beneficial to include the end users.
Maybe a more effective way to design spaces for teaching would be for design teams to come into innovative classrooms and observe. For instance, if they came into my classes on days where we have multiple stations running they might see that furniture that moves easily would be more beneficial than the chairs and desks currently in use. The point is that the design experts could most efficiently design a space by first looking at how the end users work within their environments and building on the current structure to make it more effective.
Mishra, P., Cain, W., Sawaya, S., Henriksen, D. & the Deep-Play Research Group (2013). A Room of their own. Tech Trends, (57) 4. p. 5-9.