What do you think?
We’ve been thinking about space for quite some time, but especially in the past weeks.
Space was the number one question on people’s minds after they heard the pitch about ADRABA – as in “Where is your space located?”
We still do not have an answer to that burning question. It’s too early to begin paying rent on a space that won’t be needed until next spring. Nevertheless, it got us thinking about how blended learning demands new ways of thinking – even in the realm of architecture.
Merely saying the word “school” evokes all kinds of associations. This is not surprising as you and probably everyone you know went to school and knows what that experience is like. But besides the smells, sounds, tastes, feelings and relationships that “school” evokes, “school” also has a fixed set of ideas about space. “School” looks a certain way.
Traditional schooling is all about large groups being directly instructed by a single teacher. The traditional school space is designed to facilitate that. Square rooms are filled with rows of desks, tombstones in a cemetery, all facing the teacher’s desk and blackboard. Long hallways facilitate movement of students between these cells to the sound of bells.
In a blended-learning environment, learning is personalized. How can space be designed to reflect that?
First, the space (like the learner) must be multi-purpose. Different kinds of learning (i.e., individual, ḥavurta, or small group, math, literature or Talmud) should be able to take place in close proximity to each other.
Second, being multi-purpose, the space is also de-centralized. In other words, the space is all about students, not the teacher. If there is a teacher’s desk, it is somewhere off to the side.
Third, the space must be flexible enough for students to move through it seamlessly when the need arises. There are no bells. There are no dividing walls. Learning happens anytime, anywhere and anyplace. The space should reflect that fluidity.
With these parameters in mind, we can set up a space for the needs of our learners – but it doesn’t look like any school you’ve ever seen. Yes, there will be walls and desks, pencils as well as tablets, but also bar-height tables, open spaces, discrete lighting, sunshine and colour.
We also want this space to be located and integrated in the community, not in an isolated, residential neigbourhood.
We want it to be accessible with public transportation so our students can arrive on their own, pop out during the day for research, return for a class, or to meet her team or just to hang out.
We want the building where we’re located to be mutli-use, so our students are not cloistered away from the world.
The big question remains … where will that new kind of learning space be located?
So here’s our ask of you.
Given all these wants, where do you think our space should be located?
Leave us a comment at our Instagram or on our Facebook page and identify where you’d like to see ADRABA set up shop.
And if you have a lead on a specific space, or have an extra 4,000 square feet you’re not using in early-to-mid 2019, drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org!