[Week 4 Activity] Visit a Learning Space


I am a facilitator of LEGO Serious Play in Monterrey, Mexico and I gave a workshop about Innovation in Products and Services with the Osterwalder’ value propose model. The participants were adults and professionals.
What I see in those workshops are people focused on building their LEGOS’ models to be presented to their peers, interested in hearing what their peers have to say, finding that they have more simulations than differences and discovering new ideas and knowledge that was hidden. One of the most powerful characteristics of this methodology is the emotional connection between the participants.
For this works, one: each person has to have time to work in private and then work with the team, two: you have to have a method or structure to do that, and three: as a facilitator, I need a create an environment of trust and respect, as LCL said. At the begin, We set the norms of the workshop and I specifically say that "this is a secure environment if you made a mistake, nothing happen, but you need to learn about this mistake.


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This is my classroom. I hope it is set up to allow collaboration. However, it is an impermanent space. Last year, I moved 3 times and the first person to lose their room is always the GATE specialist. So I try to keep things to a minimum, but somewhat welcoming at the same time.
Right now we are coding robots, learning about space, and tessellations. We listen to jazz and prop the door open to let sunlight into our windowless room. Seating is flexible and was decided on with student input.


Congratularions for all of you! Many different learning spaces. I would like to show a different one. It was a project called Draw my life in an English class where students should talk about themselves from a box by making a video. The result was amazing because they could choose how to do.


Hurrah for NZ and your school. I am in Christchurch. and am a literacy facilitator trying to build my LCL knowledge. Love your video and your thinking. :-:smiley:


At the school where I teach, computers are at tables where it is easy to share with those who are in front of words. To see the screen you just have to get up. I try to take advantage of their initiatives to solve problems in groups by letting them move around the class when they work as a team.


Great idea!


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From todays workshop in building and geometry, for 1. graders. I am testing out the prototypes of triangular building elements. The kids kan build big huts and spheres if they manage to cooperate. I find the difficult thing for me is not helping, but letting them sort it out!
Meanwhile I am thinking about how to make the building elements easy to use, but not restricted. “Low floor, wide walls and high ceiling” is helpful in deigning learning materials too!


This space is outside of the classroom setting.
There are tables arranged in groups for children to work collaboratively or in a small group with adult support. ‘Tub’ chairs are available for pupils to work with laptops or iPads on their laps or curl their feet up with a device. Against a wall there are 5 PCs that can be used for pairs or individuals working on separate parts of a project.
Pupils use this space for many purposes and the variety of seating & working places means its always busy with sharing and discussions.


My first thought is of my daughter’s Montessori pre-school. The space that students had was amazing with designated areas that were open and visible from all other areas of the room, allowing kids to watch what others were doing and join in if something took their interest. For an inquisitive child like my daughter it was the perfect place for her to start.


That is a great saying @Bice_Rapaccini. I’ve made a note of it for future use. The library priorities and culture are somewhat in conflict with maker spaces. I think libraries and librarians want maker activities and spaces, but don’t have the understanding or resources to make it work – a challenge for LCL participants to help solve. Great photo of your makerspace, showing the variety of people and their engagement with the project.


Here is a picture of our Makerspace with the Gr.4/5 class right in the middle of building their traditional housing. The Medicine Wheel coloured tables (black, white, red, yellow) each come apart so that students can re-arrange the room if they need (some students like more space, also to separate their group from the nearby group they will move their table section out).

Supplies are located all along the outside edge of the room, as are other classes’ projects. There is a lot of movement in the room, to get supplies, to use the sink, hot glue guns, to check out each others work, and to check out the work done by other classes. This allows students to move their thinking forward as well, when they get stuck we encourage them to go check out what else is being done and get inspired.

The room can and does get very messy and we are all working on being respectful of each others times and space. Also we have discussions about being mindful of the limited supplies available and that the whole school has to use these supplies too.


The Collab Lab

I’m posting a picture of the flexible use space we have at our school called the Collab Lab. At the moment, it is empty but I have spent countless hours in here with both classes and after school clubs building, designing and creating.

A few thoughts about the design of the space:
The space itself was designed to be reconfigurable to support a variety of learning and working arrangements. Whether it is seminar style discussion with 20 kids in a giant U, a large conference table in the middle of the room, individual work stations scattered throughout the room, all desks off to the side to clear an open space for robot testing or a myriad of other arrangements; I find that flexibility in space layout is really useful. We also have lots of whiteboard real estate and individual whiteboards that allow students to hash out their ideas. A tinker cart of prototyping materials and our Lego Mindstorms sets provide the primary materials for creating in this space.

A few improvements I would like to see:
I’d love to have a way to feature more projects in progress in a way that would be visible. One of the challenges of a flexible use space that gets used in a variety of ways is that things need to disappear when the room is being used for a faculty meeting or whole grade activity. I’d also like to find ways to give the space more character by finding some good quotes or otherwise inspiring images to put up around the room.


In reading the articles this week, and watching the videos, I decided I would look at my current learning space – my grade 1/2 Montessori classroom. When organizing the space initially, it was more about the “flow” of the classroom and organization and access to materials as per Montessori’s idea of the “prepared classroom”. Looking at it from a different lens through, I see that there are so many embedded opportunities for collaboration in the space: flexible seating in terms of clipboard use, working on the carpet, taking a mat and using floor space, large tables with flexible seating, an extra table for breakout space, a quiet corners for more introspection, and a standing table for morning coffee chats (maybe just me). Materials are organized to show care and respect, but are easily accessed whenever a child needs, and adjusted to reflect the interests of the different individuals in the classroom.

Our classroom is connected to a grade 3/4 classroom who we collaborate with daily and is the highlight for most students – many of my former students are now in that classroom, and seeing them grow into “Big Buddies” is a wonderful experience. We also strictly use laptops and tablets in our school to allow not only for easier movement and collaboration in the classroom, but throughout the school.

In Montessori, we loop with our students. My grade 1s become my grade 2s, and quite naturally become amazing leaders and mentors. What’s even more amazing though, is that in a very short time, the leadership and mentorship becomes more expectation and routine based, and learning becomes more collaborative. Currently, many of my students have chosen to work on Lego robotics kits. As much as one of my professional learning goals is to embrace new technologies WITH the students, I am thankful that many of them don’t even come and ask me anymore…at any given time, you can look around and see the natural ebb and flow of movement between groupings, despite age, grade or ability. The collaboration is natural, supportive and universal.

One of my wishes for the space is the tables. For the most part, they allow for multiple students to sit around them easily, spread out work and work together. But, at the same time, they are long and heavy and require help to move them. I would love if they were half the size, but with locking wheels, so the table sizing and movement could be more flexible – more table space when we need it, more intimate groupings on other occasions, or move them aside for lots of room on the floor.


The learning space I visited was a CoderDojo club. The club was started last year and was the result of a collaboration between our town’s public library, our school district and an outside organization. I love to visit the space because children of ages between 7 and about 15 are all working in the same space. I sat down and “played” with a coding program. Soon I had someone ask for help - we sat down and figured it out together - it was great! Students were also studying circuits by making a homemade flashlight out of popsicle sticks, metallic tape, LEDs, batteries, electrical tape and a metal binder clip. The setup consisted of tables and the students had a choice as to where to sit. The club meets once a month, so I wish it would meet more often so that students could have more opportunities, but I think this is a good start.


this is how looked 90 percent of classroom in Egypt, the way i was taught about 40 student in class room arranged in rows , we listen to teachers explanation and there is no discussion only written tests was the indication to our understanding .

but there is another experience, the none formal education that i attended two years ago in Cairo at Cairo Institute of liberal arts and science that was discussion based learning style where we all , fellows and students setting in round table sharing not only discussion but also sharing art drawing , food ,musics ,ideas and dreams and there is a space to make exercises ,movement and there are sheets on the wall to write our thoughts ,jokes .
it was the best class room and education experience i have had till now.


My personal educational experience is not different from that of you. Actually, the situation of formal classroom needs to be changed. Teachers should know that the traditional classroom teaching-learning methods are somewhat obsolete now. It’s high time they played their due role for ensuring creative learning in the classroom. By the way, in some private schools in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the classroom environment is changing gradually. Here I’m sharing a picture.


This is a work that I did for Code week 2017 with other classes and other teachers!!!
I have an advice for all the teachers, even for me: do everything with love and passion. Only in this way, you can touch their heart and stay with them over the time of teaching!
Culture is in movement and New Technologies are new every day. So it’s impossible know all the tools, but it’s possible teach the pleasure of knowledge, the desire of looking for new contents and ways to improve themselves.
I love my job and I love spending my time at school with my students. I like watching them, when they are curious and when they work alone, in pairs or in group to improve their skills.
And it’s beautiful when all the teachers work together for a better school, where ideas can become real opportunities for all: children, students and parents!!!


This is the workshop space at the Science Centre where I work. Unfortunately it wasn’t in use when I visited. The activity in this space at the moment is a regular screen printing workshop. There are some great things about this space and some challenging ones. The table near the front is where participants do the screen printing and is nice because they can see each other share supplies and chat easily. There is also previous projects hanging around the space which can help previous participants share with current ones which is nice. The wall around the space is both a blessing and a curse, as it helps control the flow in this space for when they are using riskier tools and doing more projects that can only accommodate a few kids at time due to staffing ratios. However, this wall means that people can’t wander up to see what’s happening and chat with participants, so its definitely a trade off. One of the challenges in this space is engaging large numbers of people. Currently our capacity is 2-4 for screen printing. It would be great to find a way to design the space to support more people working together somehow… but it might be the technical nature of the activity and the tools that create the max number of people more than the space…


I attend every Saturday to a school in Madrid (Spain), my city, to teach robotics to three different groups of gifted children. They are absolutely amazing. I have to prepare the class very carefully so that all of them can develop their different talents without imposing limits. And each one of them needs to follow his own interest. We try to allow them to learn by themselves, with the less possible intervention from our side. We define teams wso that they develop theirown projects with LEGO MINDSTORMS. The challenge is to help them to focus on the task, and collaborate with the rest of his team , which is not always easy for gifted children.

The classrooms are big, but we like to move around in it, and work on the floor, so I rather to move the tables and chairs to gain more space. I think this is more important it seems to be. When you are creating with robots, every space can be insufficient, specially if you have to test a vehicle , for example. The ideal place would be a maker space, where we could store the bricks and rest of pieces in a organized way. We will try to do that next year.

Cheers from Madrid.


While Scratch and Tinkering Movement’s open-collaborative workspace energizes some kids, its prioritization of centralized group space repels those who initially need comforting/safe/less-open space to come up with original ideas. I’m interested in how to design for these timid? kids who are often neglected. (neglected, not by the fault of the mentors but by these kids’ physical withdrawing to invisibility)

Collaborative space appeal to kids who are energized by building on the work of ideas around them. But it repels those kids who need smaller spaces to work alone/small group. These kids tend to take much longer time but are the ones who come up with breakaway original ideas that are original-line-of-thought, leaps away from the same-line-of-thought-ideas of the collaborative groups. Neither is superior, but they feed on each other. For this reason, learning spaces should appeal to both types.

The following ideas are from my observations of what appeals to these timid/original-thought kids in a Montessori Classroom.

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Half Shelf: materials are neatly shelved in half shelves, at the height at or below kids’ eye level. These materials are made for kids and there is no need to reach up. Half shelf provides privacy from others when working on the floor, but provides visibility to others when standing. So it provides privacy and connectedness at the same time.

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Rug: Most of the “work” is done on the floor, on a rug. Rug is important because it sets boundary for work space. Working on the floor allows easy “peeking” from others walking around, piquing their curiosities. So, it provides a sense of privacy, while “sharing” with others. Also, working on the floor requires more bodily movement than sitting in a chair. Physical movement aids in creative thinking.

Nooks: Shelves are arranged to provide “nooks,” where those who seek solitude away from the clamor of others be calmed down and recharge.

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NO central open SPACE: A central gathering space, such as a big conference table in the middle of the space gives prominence to groups and energizes those who succeed in group settings: loud, aggressive (those who take the materials that they need), those who builds off of the ideas of others (instead of taking time to figure out something truly original). A central group space repels types who like to come up with original ideas. When I visited the tinkering table at the San Francisco Exploratorium, my daughter was repelled by the open setting, while my son was energized by it.

Mentors: It is important to have mentors with varying personalities. However, it is very difficult to be a mentor for timid types. Timid types tend to require one-one-one attention because mentor’s attention usually go to the outspoken types who are expert at appealing to the mentor’s attention. So, it might be prudent to have mentors stationed at smaller areas, where only one or two kids can be with one mentor—in addition to the mentors stationed at open areas with lots of kids.