When you think of a classroom, what comes to mind? Your brain probably paints a scene something like this: desks in rows with writing surfaces welded to stiff chairs and a large teacher's desk at the front of the room. Perhaps you think of the lecture hall. Either way, it's an inflexible environment conducive to little more than a sage-on-stage instruction model.
Space is important. It influences not only how we learn but how we teach. In fact, there's an entire book on space, highlighting its importance and ways in which it can be transformed to better foster creativity.
Rather than classrooms, we have studios at the d.school. These are flexible spaces that can be manipulated in a variety of ways to create different environments. The tables and couches are on wheels, the chairs and stools are light-weight, and the whiteboards are either small enough to be picked up, on wheels or hooked to tracks in the ceiling.
Each group that gathers in a space is able to set that space however they like with few limitations. This means that, unlike a traditional classroom, a studio can take on a variety of different forms over the course of the day. One member of the d.school community, Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, placed a camera on the ceiling of one of our studios to capture the many ways that space was used from May 20 to 23, 2014. The resulting time-lapse video showcases the creative use of the studio, and highlights an important point, as Leticia explains:
"[The] reset state is possibly one of the most important, yet overlooked elements that make these spaces uniquely suited to foster adaptive, experiential learning. It gives teaching teams a blank canvas to paint the picture for each class, so that the physical space contributes to creating the mood and functionality that support the activities and the learning goals they have in mind. Efficiency (because you have to come a bit early to set up) is sacrificed in benefit of effectiveness and creativity."
The "reset", in the case of this studio, is the space setting where the red couches are placed in the center of the room and the chairs, stools, tables and whiteboards are cleared. Resetting the space gives a blank canvas to the incoming group.
So, how does watching this video change your understanding of space? Does it produce any insights for you? If so, please do share them in the comments or with us on Twitter at @stanforddschool.