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.