Rethinking Learning Environments and Spaces


                                     ...not to mention a kickin' football stadium...

The Problem -
- Growing population necessitated expansion, but public would not support another high school.
The Answer - 6 Shifts...

1 - A new and better vision....Clark Hall

2 - Strengthening and Opening up the Wireless Network

3 - A Choice to Teach and Learn a Different Way

4 - A New Building Construct

5 - Creating a Real-World Space

6 - Creating Strategic Partnerships

...but all of this doesn't really work in the Ontario context, does it?

  • Universities and colleges have done things like this, but not at the elementary/secondary least not at this level...
  • Boards aren't pressured in the same way...size of our boards make the construction of a new school a different

How does this apply to us?

Sheninger suggests that now is the time to restructure systems and environments to meet the needs of today's learners...

Google Offices - New York

Structure can be a catalyst for much as changes in programs!

  • Atmosphere created at Google's offices motivates and helps to encourage creativity
  • The work place becomes somewhere workers look forward going to
  • Google's 80/20 Innovation Model - 20% of employees time can be used to work on something company-related that interests them personally

What if Schools Listened to Google...or to Their Students?

  • Digital Leadership makes it possible to develop school environment students (and teachers) want to be a part of, and cant wait to get to
  • Redesign would increase achievement, motivation, and develop a passion for the learning process
  • career-focused curricula
  • designed using existing high-school courses as well as creating complimentary courses for each academy - all without costing the district extra funding

Ontario Perspective

  • Already being done in many district, especially Peel.
  • Need to be holistic programs that allow...
    • students to follow their passions
    • engage in a cohort style of learning
    • use constructivist styles of learning to allow students to build their own understanding
    • any student to participate, regardless of ability, should they wish to push themselves more and follow their unique interests


  • Students engage in learning with full lectures, assignments and assessments
  • Can receive personalized mentoring while taking the course
  • Culminating tasks can sometimes include short dissertations by the students themselves
  • All necessary resources are already in place

Gives the opportunity to offer a world-class learning opportunity to anyone who wants to pursue it.

Wrapping up!

Do the learning environments that we use today really meet the needs of 21st century learners? Do they foster creativity, provide flexible opportunities to learn, and address unique and specific interests?

Sheninger asks leaders to look beyond the traditional and search out opportunities and concepts that encourage learning and achievement, while making the learning experience a positive one.

Comment Stream