OCTOBER 2008 e-NEWSLETTER

In this issue...

  • Letter from the Editor
  • Changes Coming to DesignShare
  • DesignShare Awards Program
    2008 Award Winners Released!
  • Special Topic
    "Schools in a Flat World" AIA /CAE Helsinki Conference Reflections
  • One Corner of the World
    Special Education in Mongolia...Round Two
  • On Tap
    • TED Ideas Worth Spreading: Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?
      Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity. View the post
    • What are Small Schools, Small Learning Communities, and Learning Communities of Practice?
      The notion of small learning communities (SLCs) is described synonymously with the concept of small schools. Another question is raised, "Can the terminology of school be used when referring to a learning community?" The purpose of this article is to work through these confusions and provide terminology to describe the larger learning community. View the post
    • Bubble Head
      Japan’s Shuhei Endo has always employed impressive structural gymnastics in his designs, but for an ecology learning centre for kids the shape-shifting master turned to bubbles for inspiration. View the post
    • Smart Desks Make Sci-fi A Reality In The Classroom
      Schools are set for a Star Trek make-over thanks to the development of the world’s first interactive classroom by experts at Durham University. View the post
    • Teachers demand a greater voice in design of schools
      The £45bn schools building programme is failing because the people who really know what is needed - the staff and the pupils - are not being consulted until too late in the process, say teachers’ groups. View the post
  • Bookshelf
    Spectacular Things Happen Along the Way, Lessons from an Urban Classroom, by Brian D. Schultz
  • Sites We Like
  • Event Calendar
    EUROSUN 2008 Int'l Conference on Solar Heating, Cooling & Buildings (Portugal)
    3rd Educational Facilities Forum & Exhibition (Atlanta)
    Inclusive Education: the Way of the Future (Switzerland)
    National Association of Independent Schools Annual Conference (Chicago)
    The World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development – Moving into the Second Half of the UN Decade (Germany)
    2009 AERA Annual Meeting (San Diego)
  • Fun Stuff
    50 Ways To Go Global
  • Did You Know
  • Ask the Editor
  • e-Newsletter Sponsorship Program/Subscriptions

Letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,
I'm delighted to become a part of the DesignShare team and to debut our new e- Newsletter, which, starting this month, will become a monthly feature. Each time your calendar flips a page, make sure you check out what's going on in the world of educational facility design. October's e-News takes our readers around the world, from Mongolia to Finland, and inside featured schools in every pocket of the planet in the release of the 2008 DesignShare Awards. As I reviewed the awards from this year, two themes emerged: global education and creative spark. These themes reminded me of why I chose the career path I did.

As I started college, I felt the pull of both design and education; I wasn't sure which to pursue. In the end, when I chose to pursue design, my mom suggested that I might one day design schools. I rolled my eyes and as most eighteen-year olds do, replied "Yeah right, Mom." Four years later I found myself in the Peace Corps, designing an English Language Resource Center called "English City" in Darkhan, Mongolia on a budget of $500 (pictures below). I realized Mom's suggestion wasn't so off-base. I returned to graduate school with a new focus on educational facility design and now find myself doing a job I never knew existed. Yeah. Right, Mom.

A quote comes to mind: "The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible." This was a Yale University management professor responding to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. Smith went on to found Federal Express. In a standardized test-taking world where feasibility is the end-all and be-all, our creative juices can be squeezed right out of us. In the TED video clip below, Sir Ken Robinson provides a humorous and truthful response to this very idea. I absolutely believe that creativity is necessary for successful global engagement and education, and it has never been more possible. We should follow Thomas Edison's motto: Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration. (This was after an irate banker shouted at Edison, "Get that toy out of my office!" telling him to take his invention, the phonograph, someplace else.) All it takes is a little creative spark... and a lot of perseverance.

In each monthly edition, I aim to introduce DesignShare subscribers to One Corner of the World, sharing some of the creative happenings in lesser-known areas of the planet. For now, in my corner of the world, I'm watching the leaves turn to their beautiful Midwest tones and kids march down the block with not-so-fresh-anymore haircuts and colorful book bags. It's the first autumn in twenty-two years that I didn't begin a new school year, whether as a student or a teacher. Admittedly, the feeling is bittersweet, for there's a buzz in the air that can only come from the first day of school. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, it is with great hope that this month's e- Newsletter edition can spread some of that "first day" kind of energy your way. Or least inspire you to get a fresh haircut and a new bag.

Cheers!
Clare
Director of Operations, Editorial Board Chair

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.”
- Mary Lou Cook

Playing in “English City”

Learning Café and Supermarket Murals in “English City”



Changes Coming to DesignShare

  • Monthly e-Newsletters starting THIS MONTH!
  • Monthly global awareness profile starting THIS MONTH! Read all about this month’s feature...Mongolia
  • Updated Manufacturer and Firm Profiles coming soon!
  • Updated Sponsorship Packet releases next month!
  • Sponsored quarterly case studies, featuring two schools with each new release, beginning JANUARY 2009!


2008 Design Awards Released


Hazelwood School For The Multiple Sensory Impaired, United Kingdom

The school caters for 60 students with multiple disabilities, aged from 2 to 19. Each student has a combination of two or more of the following impairments: visual impairment, hearing impairment, mobility or cognitive impairment. The design focused on creating a safe, stimulating environment for pupils and staff. The architect set out to eliminate any institutional feel and worked to avoid conventional/ standard details, creating a bespoke design that incorporates visual, sound and tactile clues.


The International School, Netherlands

The International School is a meeting place for 1800 pupils with 80 different nationalities, all with their own language and culture. All of them move very often, this is why the school schedule of all the International Schools around the world is exactly the same.

DesignShare was so pleased to release the results of our 2008 International Awards Program last month. A special thanks goes out to the jurors for sharing their time, passion and wisdom along the way. Also, many thanks to Tiffany Green for coordinating a successful awards program and for writing the final Awards Commentary. Thanks to our Sponsors for their commitment to DesignShare and school design. And finally, thank you to all the submitters who continue to raise the bar for innovative school design. DesignShare’s vision is to be the central forum for groundbreaking information on school facilities. Your willingness to share is essential to improving DesignShare and school design everywhere and we look forward to furthering our vision!
To read the 2008 Commentary, click here.
To review the winners, click here.

Regards,
Clare Vogel
Director of Operations, Editorial Board Chair
clare@designshare.com


Special Topic

“Schools in a Flat World,” AIA /CAE Helsinki conference
by Annalise Gehling

The beautiful city of Helsinki, Finland, is about as far from my home in Melbourne, Australia, as it is possible to be on this planet. Yet for a couple of reasons it has featured in my life over the last 12 months. A timetable change by FinnAir in August 2007 meant I stayed there for 24 hours on my way to London last year, and I couldn’t have been more delighted. It was my first experience of a European summer and I was so impressed with the way the city’s residents embraced and enhanced the life of the street. I must have looked silly taking photos of everyday-looking collections of cafe dwellers, cyclists, shoppers and trams. On the way home from that trip I heard a podcast by Danish architect Jan Gehl discussing the features that comprise good public space: thoroughfare, meeting place and marketplace. My photos of the Helsinki city streets suddenly made sense! Here was a city that lived good design.

Finland was also drawn to my attention in 2007 with a paper by McKinsey & Co examining the reasons for the country’s blitzing of the OECD PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) standardised tests. It wasn’t that the teachers ‘taught to the test’, but rather that they were highly regarded and respected professionals who were given the scope to perform their jobs effectively. Still, I wondered what kinds of environments they were working in.

For these reasons it seemed to be an obvious choice of location for the Fall 2008 AIACAE (American Institute of Architects -- Committee for Architecture in Education) Conference, ‘Schools in a Flat World’, and I was excited about the prospect of attending in order to discuss some of the pioneering work occurring in Australian schools.

The group of approximately 90 conference participants heard eighteen speakers discuss selected projects and trends from all the continents, each in the setting of one of the tour locations (of which there were approximately nine). One of the speaker highlights for me was Greg Hasuik on the extreme cultural and environmental challenges of building in Canada’s far north (and I thought Helsinki was cold!), where a Kiva/auditorium at Arviat Senior School functions as much-loved community space – and a place where students who might not otherwise come to school at all feel respected and empowered. Amazingly, this construction was serviced in one single shipment containing every item from the lights to the chairs to the cement to the grouting that served to keep the entire building airtight.

Ulrike Altenmuller’s talk on Finnish school building innovation and culture was an excellent start to the series of tours. As for most of us at the conference, Ulrike’s personal experience of school buildings (in her case, Germany) had been somewhat short of inspiring, and the contrast between these and the Finnish schools she studied - and we toured - was striking.

Ulrike’s talk was held in the welcoming entry of the Hosmarinpuiston Koulu (Hosmarinpuisto School and Day Care Centre*). Despite occupying a somewhat imposing two storeys, the spaces inside Hosmarinpuisto were enhanced by transparency, colour, lighting and pieces of furniture that were effectively child-scaled, but incredibly respectful. Many of the small details that I find irritating about most schools I visit were absent here. No patronising bright primary colour schemes, very few commercial teaching posters (instead, many authentic texts and materials), no dead corridor spaces. Every space in this school was utilized and cared for.



Metsolan Ala-Asteen Koulu (Metsola Primary School) is not a new school (built 1991) but exemplified several school design patterns and made the most of its park setting for outdoor learning. There is a great contrast between the passive community-centered approach of the Finnish schools and the fortress-like nature of most public American and British schools. We saw no fences and no active attempts to make the school grounds more sterile or ‘accident proof’, which is not to say that they were all exemplary learning spaces, but certainly where community connections or naturalist learning opportunities already existed, they were celebrated.



Indoor-outdoor connections were not consistently strong, though there were several outdoor spaces in which investments had obviously been made, with amphitheatres and decks despite the long, cold winter that had already begun to set in during September. Clearly the Finns are appreciative of every day of clement weather – a lesson for those of us in kinder climates.

Many of the schools and colleges had excellent Welcoming Entries, in most cases combining a cafeteria or small cafe with the main foyer space, with a resulting ‘public space’ that felt calm, respectful and vibrant. This was undoubtedly helped by the large numbers of indoor plants and direct views to learning activities. The Welcoming Entry pattern was common from the most junior of the schools to the post-compulsory AV Media School, where we saw students gathered in small work or social groups in a very urban and adult setting.



While the ‘Campfire’ modality was dominant as usual, there were also Watering Hole and Cave spaces regularly scattered throughout all of the schools visited.

I have heard Prakash refer to some schools as “the best of the old, rather than the first of the new”. If we consider that the “new” will be far less dependent on classrooms as the dominant school design pattern, the Finnish schools are not yet in the “new” category (though we did see a number of examples of classrooms with doors between them, or double classrooms). But they certainly outclass every other ‘old paradigm’ school I’ve visited.

*Formal education only begins at age 7 in Finland, so 5 and 6 year-olds are among the Day Care Centre’s numbers.


One Corner of the World

Special Education in Mongolia...Round Two (August 22, 2008, Campus Connections)
Country: Mongolia
Capital: Ulaanbaatar
Population: 2.7 million
Size: 6th largest country in Asia, and 18th largest in the world
Language: Mongolian (Kazakh in the west)
Religion: 94% Buddhist & Shamanist, 6% other (mostly Muslim and Christian)
Education: compulsory from 7 to 16
Literacy rate: 90%
Unemployment rate: over 20%
Economy: animal husbandry and mining

Mongolian gers (nomadic tents or yurts)

On Tap

  • TED Ideas Worth Spreading: Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?
    Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity. View the post
  • What are Small Schools, Small Learning Communities, and Learning Communities of Practice?
    The notion of small learning communities (SLCs) is described synonymously with the concept of small schools. Another question is raised, "Can the terminology of school be used when referring to a learning community?" The purpose of this article is to work through these confusions and provide terminology to describe the larger learning community. View the post
  • Bubble Head
    Japan’s Shuhei Endo has always employed impressive structural gymnastics in his designs, but for an ecology learning centre for kids the shape-shifting master turned to bubbles for inspiration. View the post
  • Smart Desks Make Sci-fi A Reality In The Classroom
    Schools are set for a Star Trek make-over thanks to the development of the world’s first interactive classroom by experts at Durham University. View the post
  • Teachers demand a greater voice in design of schools
    The £45bn schools building programme is failing because the people who really know what is needed - the staff and the pupils - are not being consulted until too late in the process, say teachers’ groups. View the post

Bookshelf

Spectacular Things Happen Along the Way, Lessons from an Urban Classroom, by Brian D. Schultz
A fresh take on what happens when a teacher says enough is enough and does the unthinkable: design a curriculum based on their students’ actual needs and aspirations. As the students of Room 405 focus on replacing their dilapidated school building, a historic voyage of repair and healing begins.

Sites We Like

The Global Education Collaborative
globaleducation.ning.com
The Center for Global Education
www.globaled.us
World Wise Schools Program (Peace Corps)
www.peacecorps.gov/wws

Event Calendar

EUROSUN 2008 Int'l Conference on Solar Heating, Cooling & Buildings (Portugal)
October 07 - 10, 2008

3rd Educational Facilities Forum & Exhibition (Atlanta)
November 03 - 04, 2008
The 3rd Education Facilities Forum will create time saving opportunities for you to meet and evaluate suppliers for your cleaning, catering, refurbishment, maintenance and FM needs.

ARCHITECTS/PLANNERS/PURCHASING OFFICIALS: Gather, Learn, and Grow at The School Equipment Show (Baltimore)
November 13-15, 2008
Timed to lead into the prime specifying season, the School Equipment Show is the perfect place to source new products, earn AIA credit, network with your peers, and discover the latest trends affecting facilities, construction, and design in the K-12 education marketplace. See products from over 200 companies displaying innovative furniture, fixtures, and equipment. Bring your entire team (school district decision maker, architect, engineer or construction manager) for training, education, and networking. Showcase outstanding school design projects at the Learning Environment Awards competition.

International Conference on Education: “Inclusive Education: the Way of the Future” (Switzerland)
November 25 – 28, 2008
“Inclusive Education: the Way of the Future” is the theme of this conference, a major international forum for education policy dialogue, organized by the International Bureau of Education. It will enrich debates about the concept of inclusive education, explore how governments can develop and implement inclusive policies, draw attention to education systems that offer opportunities for life-long learning and emphasize the role of teachers in meeting learners’ diverse expectations and needs.

National Association of Independent Schools Annual Conference (Chicago)
February 25 - 27, 2009
The NAIS Annual Conference is the largest gathering of independent school leaders, administrators, and teachers. The conference provides for attendees opportunities for invaluable personal and professional networking, and for the attainment of practical skills and tools. In addition, it strives to be an event that spurs forward-thinking dialogue about the future that faces independent schools.

“The World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development – Moving into the Second Half of the UN Decade” (Germany)
March 31 – April 2, 2009
The conference will review what has been achieved during the first half of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and will look ahead to strategies that further promote awareness and progress in this field. Special emphasis will be placed on enhancing North-South and South-South dialogue and cooperation. The conference is organized by UNESCO and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, in cooperation with the German Commission for UNESCO.

2009 American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting: “Disciplined Inquiry: Education Research in the Circle of Knowledge” (San Diego)
April 13 - 17, 2009


Fun Stuff


50 Ways to Go Global (www.nais.org)
  1. Start language teaching programs in your pre-K, kindergarten, and primary schools.
  2. Include global education in your school’s mission statement.
  3. Connect with overseas schools on the Internet.
  4. Participate in NAIS’s Challenge 20/20 Program.
  5. Elementary schools can organize exchanges with schools in other countries: one parent and one child spend a week with a host family, then host that same family.
  6. Read High Noon: 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them by J.F. Rischard and The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman.
  7. Start an international parents group that includes all parents with international experience.
  8. Teach conflict resolution and ethical leadership.
  9. Promote summer travel grants for teachers.
  10. Start a Mandarin, Arabic, or Hindi language program.
  11. Recruit international students.
  12. Create a volunteer parent support group for international students and their families.
  13. Attend the NAIS Global Education Summit.
  14. Invite dignitaries from other countries to visit the campus and meet faculty and students.
  15. Create an annual speaker series with global topics.
  16. Offer a cultural anthropology course, and expect students, teachers, administrators, and staff to model respect for all peoples and cultures.
  17. Educate and encourage parents to support school initiatives that promote global understanding.
  18. Put sustainability in your school’s strategic plan.
  19. Hold an international/World’s Fair day at your elementary school.
  20. Require a second foreign language for your students.
  21. Learn about the International Baccalaureate Programs.
  22. Implement a shadow teacher exchange.
  23. Hire international faculty through the Fulbright Program.
  24. Organize service-learning trips and global sustainability trips for students during spring and summer breaks.
  25. Attend global events at local colleges and universities.
  26. Hold a global education conference at your school.
  27. Put global elements in your curriculum.
  28. Send a delegation to the NAIS Institute for Student Leaders.
  29. If your school has an idea that is "working" – share your model of global sustainability. Click here to share your program with NAIS and member schools.
  30. Start a partnership program with a school in another country.
  31. Promote longer-term teacher exchanges.
  32. Conduct summer study trips to other countries.
  33. Participate in School Year Abroad or other long-term overseas study.
  34. Create partnerships with non-governmental organizations in other countries.
  35. Host overseas visitors for short- and long-term stays.
  36. Hold a “Global Day” for all students with a different theme each year.
  37. Create a partnership with the nearest World Affairs or Council on Foreign Relations.
  38. Participate in Model UN, Global Quest, and Model Interdependency Programs.
  39. Forge bonds with international communities in your town.
  40. Teach comparative politics and host related field trips.
  41. Seek diversity of cultural, national, and ethnic backgrounds in teachers and administrators.
  42. Get connected through Virtual Collaboratory and social networking (blogs, wikipedia, etc).
  43. Teach global trade and economics.
  44. Encourage students to participate in a summer language immersion program.
  45. Learn about the World Affairs Challenge at the University of Denver.
  46. Think about adding some SPICE to your life. (Stanford Program on International and Cross Cultural Education)
  47. Organize an international club.
  48. Raise funds for a charity in a developing country.
  49. Take your faculty members on an education tour to another country.
  50. Create an e-learning community with other schools.

Did You Know...

$489.4 billion was the projected expenditure for public elementary and secondary schools in the 2007-08 school year (The National Center For Education Statistics).

Ask the Editor

What do you want to see in upcoming DesignShare e-Newsletters? Email clare@designshare.com.

E-Newsletter Sponsors

THIS E-NEWSLETTER IS SPONSORED BY:

FNI
Fielding Nair International designs school facilities for today and tomorrow with one primary goal in mind — to improve learning. With consultations in 26 countries on 5 continents, dozens of important publications, and numerous industry awards for excellence, FNI is the global leader for innovative school architecture. Underlying all the architectural design, planning and educational change management work they do is a strong belief in diversity, high performance, technology infusion, global connections and personalization. Web: www.fieldingnair.com


VS’ history goes back to the late 1800’s as the first company to provide comprehensively designed school furniture. Their dedication to ergonomics applies to every type of workplace - be it in the school or office. The entire VS product development is based on expertise in ergonomic principles to support dynamic work, collaboration, and study environments. In particular, VS offers the PantoMove, the ultimate ergonomic classroom chair. Its 3-D rocking mechanism allows for movement in all directions. Easy height adjustment makes this chair the perfect fit for K-12 students. Web: www.vs-furniture.com General Info Email: info@vs-furniture.com


C/S GROUP (Construction Specialties, Inc.) is committed to design innovation and the improvement of educational environments. C/S manufactures impact-resistant wall covering and wall protection products, entrance-flooring systems, expansion joint covers and daylight management products for schools. With more than 70 registered patents, C/S is skilled in listening to architects and developing innovative new products to meet their projects’ specific requirements. Complete Design Manual is available at (888) 621- 3344. Download product drawings directly from the C/S Web site.


The School Building Expois the industry event for people responsible for the construction and renovation of K-12 and Higher Education school facilities. The 2007 Expo took place from March 6-8 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Next year's Expo will take place in April, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois.

Along with showcasing the first-ever "DesignShare Expert Bar", the Expo is a showcase of everything needed to create both the building envelope and the unique interior needs of schools and universities. From walls and floors to security and comfort systems, School Building Expo is the one place to see everything it takes to build a successful school facility.

The conference is a world-class program offering practical learning, the chance to exchange best practices, and earn up to 16 AIA-approved CEU learning units for architects to meet continuing education requirements. Expo features leading architects and school speakers, keynotes, workshops, and school tours. The focus is on practical, how-to information you can use on the projects you're working on now.

At this year's event, the American Institute of Architects Committee on Architecture in Education held its Spring meeting at the School Building Expo. AIA CAE also announced the winners of their annual architecture awards at School Building Expo.

For more information about participating as a sponsor, speaker, vendor, or participant in 2008, contact School Building Expo President Scott Goldman at 800.746.9646 x102, email him at sgoldman@eatonhall.com or review the 2007 event at the official conference web site.


MediaSnackers is a strategic consulting firm unifying youth initiatives and corporate organizations in the exploration of new media/technology. Starting out as an organization passionate about how young people consume and create media across the globe, the team’s expertise focuses on empowering young people and learners of all ages through the emergence of new technologies. With a global-view and a passion for learning (enabling others through exclusive new media training), MediaSnackers explores the impact the technology-rich landscape and always-on generation is having and going to have on the future of education.

In addition to hosting and participating in a wide array of international youth, technology, and education conferences, the MediaSnackers group hosts a widely subscribed report/blog, podcasts, and vodcasts that explore the new youth-created media projects around the world. The team grew out of UK-based Phatgnat, a consulting/research firm well-known for an exclusive annual research project exploring the motivating factors behind young peoples purchasing decisions and if a brand's community activities has an influence on the youth demographic.

MediaSnacker works with the BBC and a host of UK/European organizations passionate about emerging trends in the youth sector. Contact DK to inquire about opportunities to tap into the MediaSnackers network.


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