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edu180atl: laura deisley 10.2.12

First came Kadijah. As we encountered one another in the bustling yet cold stairway, she looked me in the eye and asked: “Is your room open today? I have free period next.” Not long after, I walked in to find her curled up on the sofa lounge, lights turned dim, laptop open and headphones on.

Moments later, William arrived. Wide-eyed with curiosity he caught Kadijah’s eye as if to say, “What are you doing here?” She popped off the headphones, expressed her delight in sharing with him her discovery: “You’ll find water in the fridge, and if you check in here you’ll find chocolate.” She made William a Keurig cup of coffee, offered to share the sofa, and nodded approval when he selected an oversized chair and table.

Eager to consider how the design of space might disrupt, engage, and inspire a school towards a new vision for learning, I am spending a good deal of time “hacking spaces.” My room, as Kadijah calls it, is an old computer lab turned collaborative space with rain-washed blue/gray walls, ideaPaint writing spaces, and a great variety of soft seating and tables. The Story Studio, this year’s new project, is an electric space with its neon green and blue stripes, writeable walls, and a playbook for transforming the tables and chairs from dining room table, to performance to dad’s workshop.

As I look up from where I am editing video. I find William reading, and Kadijah stretched out, eyes closed, the lamp beside her barely dim. Upstairs in Room 202, 15 students are reorganizing the studio and making their thinking visible on the walls; the energy is almost palpable from here.

Space and design are invitations to an experience. Hacking space tells me there is much we can learn from this “third teacher.”

 About the author: Laura Deisley @deacs84, is Director of 21st Century Learning at The Lovett School. She thrives on the architecture of ideas, especially when it means connecting bright, passionate people to solve problems that matter.

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Laura,
    I love both of these ideas. The slideshow for the story studio is incredible, and I will be presenting that to colleagues on how I’d like to redesign my classroom. Thanks so much for the inspiration.

    October 2, 2012
    • John-
      Glad the photos are helpful. Melanie Kahl of the Third Teacher + took some great shots. We are delighted with our partnership and the provocation of “hacked space” is speaking boldly into our upper school.

      Let me/us know if we can help you out in any way. And please share what you do! (didn’t need to ask that did I?) 😉

      October 4, 2012
  2. Stephanie #

    Lower School next? 😉 Love this–maybe I’ll be over for some quiet time in the studio soon.

    October 2, 2012
  3. Love how you started the post with the stories of the children. It’s the people who transform spaces…and the stories of learning within those spaces which have the power to disrupt, engage, inspire, and ultimately transform schools. Way to go, Laura.

    October 2, 2012
    • Absolutely, Megan. In fact, what I wanted to capture was the students reacting to space and each other. We can certainly “build it” but if the relationships don’t unfold there then it is just another “pretty face.” It is far more than “decoration.” thanks!

      October 4, 2012
  4. Stephen Kennedy #

    Just as the clothes we wear ‘en-clothes’ the space of our bodies and selves – so you state the spaces of a school surround — and invite and inspire — the learning. Very nice! May our schools have all the variety and color and wildness of a non-uniform day at the most joyous learning places imaginable!

    October 3, 2012
    • Thanks, Stephen. And NUD days should be more the norm IMHO.

      October 4, 2012
  5. Been a continual honor to work side-by-side with you, Laura (and your students + entire team at Lovett), to help make the Story Studio a reality (not to mention all that lies ahead). Thank you for the invitation for The Third Teacher + (and Cannon design) to be your design partner in this remarkable journey. And I so very much agree with what Megan said above: “It’s the people who transform spaces” + is is thru story that we truly come to understand just how much transformation is possible.

    October 4, 2012
    • It’s a lovely partnership Christian. What TTT+ is bringing to our discovery is nothing less than exceptional. Grateful for you and your team.

      October 4, 2012
  6. Diversity. Empathy. Invitation. Seems that when our spaces in a school reflect more of these values and characteristics we can literally open new doors and windows of engagement and exchange. Thanks, Laura, for your tremendous leadership and node connecting in all you do.

    Now, did you advocate for NUD days?! 😉

    October 5, 2012
    • Bo- I’m humbled by your kind comment. It is the relationships that I’ve been privileged to develop-that network of nodes-that provides me great opportunities to learn. If my contributions in turn help others learn and grow, then it is it should be. A cycle of learning and growth.
      Thanks for being a leading node. I am grateful.
      NUDs? I’d love to see the students take that on as a design challenge.

      October 5, 2012

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