The Intersection of Spatial Practices and Learning Theories

How does spatial practice respond to cutting-edge technologies? How does pedagogy respond to new tools? How does the changing nature of spatial practice affect societies? These questions were part of the theme for the first Nature of Spatial Practices Graduate Student Conference ( this past February. Spatial practice can be defined as the way a built environment is produced. The conference focused on pushing the field of architecture forward through conversations about the changing nature of spatial practice. The keynote speaker at the conference, Dr. Robert Fishman, professor of architecture and urban planning at the University of Michigan, challenged architects to conduct future research that is: 1) interdisciplinary; 2) global; and 3) visual. My interest

How Learning Theory Contributes to the Design of a Learning Space

This coming Wednesday, I will be presenting our initial work on Learning Spaces at the 2013 American Educational Research Association. Below, I provide a description of the presentation. Overview Buildings are designed today based on an understanding of physical requirements (e.g. lighting, crowding), environmental behavior design (Scott-Webber, 2004) and proxemics (Hall, 1959), the theory of how a person uses a space in relation to the culture. The design of learning spaces is more complex. Monahan (2002) explains that learning spaces have a built pedagogy or “architectural embodiment” of learning theories (p. 4). When people enter a learning space, they should understand the contributing learning theories because of how the space is designed. Designers of learning

Rethinking Learning Spaces for Large Enrollment Courses

If I were to ask you to close your eyes and imagine a classroom with 120 seats, what would you picture? Chances are you would think of a room designed for a lecture including stadium seating, a podium with a computer and microphone, a whiteboard, and a projection screen. The farthest thing from your mind would be a room holding 13 circular tables with 9 seats at each table. However, that is exactly what the Technology-Enhanced Active Learning (TEAL) project at MIT has been using since the early 2000s for physics courses. The TEAL learning space is surrounded by 13 whiteboards and 8 projectors/screens on the walls, providing additional working space. The TEAL learning space

Investigating the Krause Innovation Studio’s Built Pedagogy

The Krause Innovation Studio learning space, located at 201 Chambers Building on the University Park campus of Penn State University, will open in the next two months. The actual date is TBA. Supported by a generous gift from Gay and Bill Krause, the Krause Innovation Studio is a research focused initiative and the learning space will provide faculty with opportunities for researching innovative pedagogy. The learning space will feature collaborative spaces, private meeting rooms, and a state of the art Learn Lab for teaching and learning purposes. Within the Learn Lab, teachers and students will find media:scape furniture from Steelcase which is intended to allow any person in the room to display information from their computer to all or some

The Hyper-Public Learning Space

Last week I attended the 2011 Learning Design Summer Camp at Penn State University and led a small group discussion for the classroom of the future session. Having just attended the Hyper-Public Symposium at Harvard University and written about private and public learning spaces, I facilitated a discussion around the hyper-public learning space. I define hyper-public as complete openness, similar to a person that is followed around by paparazzi. This post provides an overview of the small group discussion and ideas.  Using Laurent Stalder’s notion of thresholds: “when do you begin to be in the building?”, I gave an example of a high threshold: Penn State’s Pattee Library (Slide 2 of Preso below), and low threshold: the Seattle Public