Improving existing learning environments is a significant part of an overall effort to increase student engagement and achievement. Students need experiences that reflect the worlds of postsecondary education, work, and citizenship in which they will grow and develop through their lifetime. At present, students are often engaged in short class periods that artificially segment related subject areas, do not foster collaboration with peers or outside expertise, and disable students’ access to technology.
Change Element Goal: Transform the concept of “school” from a physical place bounded by rigid schedules to a dynamic learning environment supported through emerging technologies, flexible planning and scheduling, repurposed facilities, and community collaboration.
Evidence: Chen asks: “If students need to be knowledge workers, why do we impose on them this lockstep schedule for those critical six or seven years, a schedule they have not encountered before and never will again?” (2010). For learning environments to engender authentic learning experiences, teachers and students require expanded access to resources (e.g., facilities, technologies, community expertise, employers), as well as the flexibility to move beyond the four walls of the classroom and the current schedule.
2011–12 Recommended Actions:
· Create agile learning environments that are readily adaptable to support a wide range of learning styles, groupings, and activities.
· Develop learning environments that expand beyond the traditional classroom walls and strengthen community connections.
· Establish commonalities in schedules for all schools to promote greater flexibility for students.
· Incorporate green and sustainable practices that conserve natural and financial resources in schools’ operations and instructional methods.
Click here to view complete action map for Transforming Learning Environments change element (pdf file).