A very close friend of mine, were talking about “innovative spaces” in schools, and the thought of bringing someone in to talk more about it. My question was, “So if you get people excited about redesigning their classrooms, how are you going to support it? Are you spending money on something that you might actually might not be able to follow up on?”
As we talked more, I threw this idea her way…
Obviously they will have some types of “career and technology studies” (they are called different things in different schools), where students build and create different things; why not use the abilities of those students (as well as the cost of materials), to have them actually build furniture for those spaces? Taking it a step even further, are there any opportunities for students to work on some of the designs in the classroom? She also added that artwork (photos, drawings, paintings, etc.) could be use to bring those spaces to life. The benefit of that would be twofold; who better to ask than the students on what they would like the spaces to look like, while these students are actually developing real world abilities to lead projects within their own school.
This idea could be quite powerful (and I am sure it has happened somewhere) for several reasons.
- You save money, or your money is more wisely spent (stewardship of resources).
- Students develop real skills in a very authentic manner contributing to the good of the school community.
- There is much more ownership within the school when your actual students are helping to develop and design the spaces.
This is the whole idea that I discussed in “The Innovator’s Mindset“, about being “innovative inside of the box”. The constraint was given, and we worked within it to come up with a solution, that in my opinion, could actually be better long term for schools.
Constraints can be barriers or opportunities, and if you try to look at things differently, those same constraints can actually lead to some pretty powerful solutions. We just need to be willing to dig deeper.
Source: George Couros