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What's in Your Space?

What's in Your Space?
5 Steps for Better School and Classroom Design

March 2016 | 144 pages | Corwin

Transformed learning spaces begin with transformed thought 

For two decades, educators have been told to incorporate skills for the global economy, adapt to diverse learning styles, and employ technology. This requires changing our thinking spaces and our physical spaces. How can or should they change to keep pace with and reflect 21st Century teaching models? 

In What’s in Your Space?, the group behind one of America’s most recognized school redesign projects walks you through the process of designing both “thinking” and “learning” spaces to accommodate today’s rigorous learning models. Throughout this book, educators will

  • Reflect upon their craft and role in 21st Century education
  • Understand the nuances of teaching Generation Z
  • Discover design principles to help establish tech-embedded learning environments
  • Collaborate with other educators to craft a scalable plan for redesigning learning spaces

As we shift our thinking, it follows that the spaces in which we work and learn will also be transformed. Discover how to do it well.

“We, as educators, can’t shift fast enough to keep up with the needs of today’s learners, but this book is a great leap in the right direction of doing so!”
Brooke Menduni, Assistant Principal 
Dublin City Schools

“There is something so unique about the framework/approach/lens of the actual physical change, so closely associated with the philosophical and pedagogical changes that can make this transformation real.”
Carol Spencer, Director of Curriculum
Addison Northwest Supervisory Union

The Parable of the Sage and the Two Spaces
Step 1: Understand Generation Z
The Importance of Cell Phones

Connected Through Social Media

The Influence of Gaming

Working in Small Groups

It's All About the Internet

Memorization and Motivation

The Importance of Relationships

Begin Taking Steps - Now!

Professional Development Ideas to Understand Generation Z

Step 2: Start Asking Questions
Our Beginning

Our Shift

Listening to Others

Clear Talking Points

A New Design Process for a New Type of Building

Chairs Are for Thinking, Not Just Sitting

Desks Can Be Tools for Collaboration

Carpet Diem

Creativity is Contagious

Different Skills, Different Spaces

The Importance of Technology

Fostering Student Buy-In

A New Type of Building, a New Funding Formula... and New Challenges

The Importance of Selecting and Training Staff

Understanding That Educators Evolve at Different Speeds

Sometimes People Need to See New Ideas to Understand Them

Remaining True to Our Core Value

An Example of Teaching in a Z Space Like Clark Hall

It's the Teaching and the Relationships, Not Just the Space

Clark Hall Today

Two Essential Questions to Begin the Design of Your Z Space

Step 3: Shift to a 21st Century Mindset
We Must View Space Redesign as a K-12 Process

We Must Understand That Space Redesign Can Be Done on a Large Scale or a Small Scale

We Must Find Ways to Make This Shift Even When Budgets Are Tight

We Must Build a Culture of Trust in Our Schools

We Must Recognize That a Learning Space Can Enhance 21st Century Learning

We Should Make the Space Redesign a Group Effort

We Must Be Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

We Should Study What Researchers Are Saying About 21st Century Learning

We Should Gather Ideas From New Sources

We Should Embrace Social Media

We Should Form Clear Objectives for How We Want to Use the Space and Communicate Those Objectives to Our Staff and Community

We Should Consider the Finishing Touches First

We Must Acknowledge That the Learning Space Is Only as Good as the Teaching That Takes Place In It

We Must Embrace the Idea That the Teacher in a 21st Century Learning Space Will Be a Facilitator, Not the Disseminator of Information

Professional Development Activities to Shift Thinking to a 21st Century Mindset

Step 4: Teach Global Skills
Standardized Testing and Global Skills

The Common Core State Standards

Other Sources for Global Skills

Graduate Profiles

Three Stages of Development

The Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools Graduate Profile

Breaking Down a Graduate Profile Into Segments

Global Skills at River Bluff High School

Media Center Redesigns

Z Spaces at the Elementary Level

Individual Teacher or Small Team Skill Lists

Professional Development Ideas to Teach Global Skills

Step 5: Let Students Use Technology
We Need Technology

We Must Learn From Our Past

We Must Envision How Technology and Space Can Enhance Learning

We Must Model With Our Teachers What We Expect to See In Our Classroom

Our Network Must Be So Strong and Well Maintained That It Rarely Crashes

Our Technology Budget Must Be Robust

We Must Teach Students to Use the Internet Ethically

We Must Discuss the Role of Technology in Teacher Assessments

We Must Realize This Is a Career-Long Initiative

We Must Turn to the True Experts: Our Students

Professional Development Activities to Help Students Use Technology


"Decision makers in school districts need to read, think about, and promote the ideas and concepts found in this book. Schools need to provide the types of learning experiences and spaces that will equip students with the tools they need for success in a quickly changing future. The ideas in this book will help to prepare students for success in fields that have yet to be defined, and for jobs that right now do not exist."

David Clark, Curriculum and Technology Specialist
Butler County ESC

"There is something so unique about the framework/approach/lens of the actual physical change, so closely associated with the philosophical and pedagogical changes that can make this transformation real."

Carol Spencer, Director of Curriculum
Addison Northwest Supervisory Union

"We, as educators, can’t shift fast enough to keep up with the needs of today’s learners, but this book is a great leap in the right direction of doing so!"

Brooke Menduni, Assistant Principal
Dublin City Schools
Key features

This book provides new insights into teaching the next generation of learners and designing learning spaces to fit their needs.

Educators will learn: 

·         How to design a world class learning experience for Generation Z
·         Design principles for learning environments on any scale - from classrooms to entire buildings 

·         Professional development practices for continued learning in the 21st Century
·         The views and mindsets of 21st Century teachers
·         How to create their own step-by-step plan for learning space redesign

·         How to integrate technology throughout every learning space

Sample Materials & Chapters


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ISBN: 9781506323077

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