Leadership magazine Nov/Dec 2015 V45 No 2 - Page 29

fied as 21st century skills. While lectures have their place, flexible learning spaces are needed to provide the types of experiences where students can reach their full potential. The creative use of space in classrooms and other environments, including libraries and media centers, can motivate and promote learning. Likewise, supportive collaboration and deeper social connections provide a personalized and inclusive environment. Imagine students cozying up with a book in a reading nook, Wobble chairs, tables that can be easily moved with changing heights and writable surfaces, and standing desks. The design of individual spaces should be: n  Flexible – consider current and evolving pedagogies. n  Timeless – enable space to be reconfigured over time. n  Creative – inspire st udents and educators. n  Enterprising – spaces should support different purposes. In “Designing New Learning Environments to Support 21st Century Skills,” Bob Pearlman highlights the design elements used in several innovative school districts throughout the United States. Elements found in these schools that were designed and repurposed included primary student work areas, presentation spaces, large group spaces, extended learning spaces and specialty labs. Districts throughout California have started to adjust learning environments with furniture, creative spaces and labs. In the Vista Unified School District, a recently reconstituted Vista Innovation & Design Academy (VIDA) Middle School emerged in 2014. At VIDA, the focus is on sparking the creative genius of young innovators. But to do that, the school has had to re-imagine its use of space. One of the creative ways VIDA uses space is in what used to be its library. VIDA now calls it the “Learning Commons” to emphasize the need for 21st century students to have highly flexible and adaptable learning environments. The majority of the furniture at VIDA is on wheels and has f lip top tables, many with writeable surfaces. VIDA also utilizes an assortment of mixed height desks and tables, in addition to a variety of types of seating. “By re-imagining the traditional use of The creative use of space in classrooms and other environments, including libraries and media centers, can motivate and promote learning. Likewise, supportive collaboration and deeper social connections provide a personalized and inclusive environment. space on campus, we have created an environment for kids where they are building community in their own ways, in their own fashion, and with their own creative license,” said Founding Principal Eric Chagala. “It would have been disingenuous telling kids we wanted to launch their creativity when we had them sitting in traditional rows.” Oxnard Union High School District just finished construction on its newest high school, Rancho Campana, designed with a focus on Linked Learning and the needs of a 21st century learner from the ground up. Superintendent Gabe Soumakian said the campus is designed to extend learning and facilitate work-based learning