Envisioning Student-Centric Design
How students sit, move, take in, share, and ultimately use information has become the focus of student-centric design, where we consider more than just their intelligence. Emotional readiness plays a large part in lifting a student from challenged, through average, to excellent. At the heart of our work is developing an understanding that educational success is a sum of various points of view expressed by numerous participants in the education of today’s students.
If modern learning depends more than ever on flexible spaces to accommodate multiple and modern pedagogies, then spatial design must be accurately and comprehensively informed. A truly student-focused school design begins with uncompromising exploration of outcomes articulated by our client stakeholders.
Framework for change
Leaders in school development have embarked on a critical course of re-envisioning how schools are designed or redesigned. Creating environments that place students at the forefront of success means dreaming big and thoughtfully exploding traditional planning concepts.
Creating an authentic framework for change starts with people – everyone from the student, administration, facilities staff, and certainly parents. One of the top issues is nailing cultural context, which flows from individual input, so assembling the essential stakeholders group is a key step in the planning process.
Our job is to create a proper platform to elicit and hear this variety of assumptions on the appropriate pathway to success. Using data from modern pedagogical research, we can apply our spatial design thinking to creating environments for “next order” learning.
Difference between acceptable and exceptional
A critical component for designing such advanced spaces is input from the correct mix of learners. Only from rigorous visioning and project-based learning activities, including “hands on doing” sessions, can we move to co-creating an authentically futuristic learning environment.
Working with tools that stimulate a conversation without dictating the outcome is a small, yet impactful, part of successfully engaging with our students. Whether we use cards with evocative words and/or pictures to spark dialogue, or “day in the life” conversations that allow students to describe their typical day versus what a perfect day would look like, the devil in these details provides the authenticity of expression from our students that can mean the difference between acceptable and exceptional results.
Certainly, there are many challenges in creating a more student-centric approach. However, by assembling a dynamic initial stakeholder group and eliciting unprompted student feedback we take a deeper dive that allows for outcomes that are not just different to be different, but are in fact a different in response to our changing world.