Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Marketplace in School

I wanted to share the following excerpt from Re-designing Spaces for Learning.  I came across the article via the Connected Principles blog.  I found myself re-reading the  excerpt several times and thinking about what this space looks like or could look like if a Marketplace were constructed where I work.  I also shared a couple of thoughts beneath as well.

We are now about to challenge school design thinking with a current sustainability project in the making – the Marketplace, which seeks to combine social and learning space as one concept, breaking down any concept of ‘separate’ classrooms.  The Marketplace is an active glass canopy positioned over old spaces in order to radically transform the heart of the original school from industrial-era design to agile spaces suited to community life, engaged learning and enhanced through mobile technologies.

In creating a Marketplace the value of traditional structures often found in schools is being challenged.  A Marketplace threatens isolation.  Not only is a sense of community being fostered but the concept that learning has to be segregated into different departments dissipates as collaborators are brought together into a single space.  Also the concept of Marketplace connects with the following from David Weinberger:

As knowledge becomes networked, the smartest person in the room isn’t the person standing at the front lecturing us, and isn’t the collective wisdom of those in the room. The smartest person in the room is the room itself: the network that joins the people and ideas in the room, and connects to those outside of it.

A Marketplace is leveraging the collective will and expertise of those who are coming together. 
Finally, I connected with the notion of creating agile spaces.  Again, this flies in the face of an industrial model where learning is situated in a single location.  I would think we want learners to be mobile and active in how they go about solving problems and posing solutions. Existing in agile space implies that individuals will take action and assume ownership.