By Coco Yang
Teacher, astronaut, doctor, lawyer, pilot. As a kid, these were just a few things I wanted to do growing up. When I started choosing classes for high school, I found my passion for learning languages and cultures, which led me to Cornell University’s Hotel School, where I’m now a proud graduate of. For me, the Hotel School was all about human connections and the desire to create memorable experiences for others. It was this desire that brought me to room2learn, almost two years ago.
I’m Coco, the Marketing Associate at room2learn. Chances are, you’ve already seen my work. Read our weekly blog posts or browsed through our Instagram page? I help curate many of these with the help of the room2learn team and guest bloggers. …
By Andy Ng
The table wasn’t staffed, yet students still flocked to grab laptop stickers and add their info to a sign-up sheet. I walked over to see a banner reading, “Learning Space Design,” and was immediately intrigued. As an educator, I hadn’t thought critically about space design before. That was back in September 2017 at the Harvard Innovation Lab’s startup fair, and there hasn’t been a day since that I have not thought about the intimate relationship between spaces and learning.
John Cary beautifully wrote that “Well-designed spaces are not just a matter of taste or a question of aesthetics; they literally shape our ideas about who we are and what we deserve in the world.” He gestures towards a fundamental value of room2learn: design matters because the spaces in which we inhabit impact learning and teaching. Spaces in which we feel accommodated and comfortable in can help us ease into new experiences. Spaces that are durable and organized help to limit distractions and allow us to focus on the task at hand. …
Drumroll please… announcing the new and improved room2learn 2.0!
Back in 2015, our team of educators, designers, and engineers set out on a mission to improve student learning experiences through space design. To do so, we wanted to empower teachers to think more critically and creatively about learning space design. After months of prototyping, testing, and iterating, we are excited to bring you — our friendly educator and designer community — the best learning space search engine on the Internet.
Are you trying to teach project-based learning in a clunky old classroom? Or find a low-budget hack for organizing materials? Look no further. On room2learn, you can find hundreds of teachers tackling similar problems every day, and peek into their classrooms for actionable ideas. Explore learning spaces from around the world and filter by learning space, class size, grade level, and more. …
Instagram, Pinterest, Blogger… There are so many platforms for browsing classroom designs and setups. But have you ever thought about the why behind each layout choice? Why is flexible seating becoming more popular among teachers, and what’s the science behind having students sit in a circle for better discussion? Here’s where room2learn comes in.
You can think of our web platform like a “Pinterest for teachers.” Thousands of teachers have joined the community to browse and upload “rooms” — social posts that real teachers share about what learning looks like in their classrooms. Unlike other platforms which focus heavily on visuals and aesthetic, we want to provide educators with more than that! Each “room” outlines details about the space design, layout or DIY hack, and how it ties into learning. …
By Ryan Leaf
“You have to choose between taking a business path or a technical one. You can’t do both.”
This was the advice that a mentor gave me while in my Freshman year of college. I was struggling in my Computer Science program; I often felt like I was missing a significant portion of what was being taught in the classroom. As I took each successive required CS class, I felt more and more lost. My grades fell from A’s to B’s and then to C’s.
Despair set in. It felt like my dream of studying Computer Science and starting a business was coming to an end. I loved technology and the idea of being able to build products through code. …
By Matt O’Donnell
Matt is a Tech Innovation Specialist and one of the Geniuses at our Learning Space Genius Bar at SXSWedu 2018. This week, he shares with us some simple hacks for bringing student voice into the classroom.
Walking into a classroom, you might see a banner from a sports team, a movie poster, or knick knack from a band. Most of the time, these objects give you a clue into the teacher’s hobbies or interests outside of school. …
Do you want your students to perform as an orchestra or a drum circle?
That’s one way to differentiate between collaboration and cooperation. Collaboration involves co-labor: where everyone is working together towards a single goal, like in an orchestra. Cooperation, on the other hand, involves performing independently, in some shared space. Each student moves to the beat of their own drum, but the collective produces a rhythm.
In today’s workplace, you often have to toggle between playing in an orchestra and playing in a drum circle. At room2learn, collaboration and cooperation are key. When we’re mocking up a new web page design or designing a space for a school client, we come together in a design thinking process to harness everyone’s ideas and expertise. This enables the team to have the freedom to be creative, while channeling that creativity in a structured manner that focuses on results. …
By Aaron Jobson
Most teachers and administrators want to implement modern learning environments. But where do they start? Here are seven design principles that came out of my Genius Bar conversations and time at SXSWedu.
Jayna Duke of O’Connell Robertson Architects gave a great definition of flexibility — the ability to use one space in different ways at different times. If you can design a space with two different uses in mind, you will find even more ways to use the space over time.
Variety, on the other hand, is the ability to use a space in different ways at the same time. I discussed this with an educator from Brazil where the current design for a new school included only traditional classrooms. We looked at simple changes to the layout — different types of furniture, varied lighting — that could take a row of classrooms and transform them to a variety of connected learning spaces. …
At SXSWEDU 2018, we met over 50 of you at the Learning Space Genius Bar! Educators came from as far as Paris and as close as Dallas, bringing questions about everything from makerspaces, engaging community in the design process, and the perennial question about storage — where do my kids store all their stuff!? Today we’re sharing some of the common themes and ideas that came out of the conversations. Stay tuned for future guest blogs from the Geniuses themselves!
Let’s take a closer look at what we did and and what we learned!
What We Did
In our first iteration of the Learning Space Genius Bar, we brought together a panel of K-12 Learning Space experts — architects, educators, and educational planners — for a 3-hour summit dedicated to educators and their space challenges. In each 20-minute appointment, participants worked with the Geniuses on solving learning space challenges. In many conversations, the Geniuses helped educators problem-find rather than problem-solve, as the first step is determining what problem we are addressing with a design solution. …
Remember the last time your iPhone shut off suddenly, or your MacBook started bugging out? What did you do? Chances are you probably hauled yourself over to the nearest Apple store and got support from their Genius Bar.
But what happens when your principal suddenly springs “project-based learning” on you? Or when fidget spinners suddenly start showing up with your students to class? Who do you go to, then, for help?
Here at room2learn, we may not be able change your principal’s mandate or get rid of fidget spinners altogether, but we can certainly show you examples of project-based learning spaces or share design hacks to keep those fidgety hands active. If you weren’t already planning to attend this year’s SXSWedu Conference and Festival, here is your reason: the world’s first Learning Space Genius Bar! …