21st Century Learning Space

Through learning about experience design, I believe that majority of educational facilities are doing students a disservice.  Learning should not be forced or seem like punishment, learning should be an aspiration.  Learning does begin that way, yet the way our education system has developed over time we have discouraged this.  Therefore, this week’s assignment on designing a 21st century learning space was very exciting to me, although creating the space using Google SketchUp made it a little more difficult.

SketchUp is an amazing tool that really allows the user to experience being an architect.  However, the learning space I had pictured in my head became so much more difficult to make than what I thought.  My first difficulty was creating the walls.  I was able to create a cube for my classroom, but was hoping to make transparent walls on two of the sides in order to peer inside.  Instead, I had to create the floor and two walls.  I also wanted a space with windows where students could sit in the sill for inspiration.  That is how this design was derived. Image

In playing more, I found hexagonal shapes and recreated the window space.  Ultimately, I would love to create my space so that it is environmental friendly and with as much recycled material as possible since I work at an environmental school.  I do have a growing passion for going being eco-friendly although I am still educating myself on the topic.

Technology is also a massive part of our students future.  Therefore, I created a space in which there are enough computers for each student.  The picture below shows laptops, however my ideal class would have tablets built into the desk tops so that students could use their desk tops with paper as well as for their tablets.


Hence, I would have adjusted the tables to look a little more like this. In addition, I would have chosen more comfortable chairs more like teacher chairs so that the students could be comfortable as well as swivel to promote movement and keep the brain alert.

Furthermore, I changed the colors of the walls to match eco-friendly colors.  An independent study demonstrating white and off-white business environments resulted in a 25% or more drop in human efficiency (Faber, 1997).  Yet, most classrooms still have white and off white walls.  Cool colors are recommended for upper grade and secondary classrooms for their ability to focus concentration (Mahnke, 1996) .

My ultimate goal was to create a space where everyone can comfortably feel like a designer to allow their creativity to become enhanced.  To adapt to different learning styles, especially kinesthetic learners I added tablets on the walls for students who have trouble sitting still as well as embedded into the blue carpet space.  This, in turn, would allow learners can figure out where they are comfortable and most productive.  Although, as you can see, I had trouble rotating the tablets so that they lie flat on the wall.  Last, I added white boards for student use so that they can brainstorm and use as well as plants in the room to promote air purification and a homey feel.  You should also note that there is no teacher desk.  I have a teacher desk and I have yet to sit at it.  I am typically walking around or sitting with a student or small group.  My desk has become more of a storage place which could be eliminated by adding a storage cabinet.


In closing, I am proud of the space I created.  A lot of my inspiration came from the 79 ways you can use design to transform teaching + learning.  I am sure this would be very expensive to create.  A tablet alone could cost anywhere from $200 to $1,000 and I have 19 pictured in my classroom.  Not to mention the high ceilings and windows.  The point is we are talking about creating a better future by developing life long learners.  Therefore, shouldn’t this investment be the opportunity of a lifetime?


Birren, Faber. The Power of Color. Carol Publishing Group, New Jersey, 1997

iDesk Apple Desk (n.d.). Retrieved August 1, 2013, from

Mahnke, Frank H. Color, Environment, and Human Response: An Interdisciplinary Understanding of Color and Its Use as a Beneficial Element in the Design of the Architectural Environment. New York: Wiley, 1996. Print.

The Third Teacher Plus. Online Website. Retrieved August 1, 2013, from http://thethirdteacherplus.com/s/79-Ideas-Overall-List.pdf. 


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