People are always surprised by the fact that I think the best technology in the Innovation, Discovery, and Engagement Area (IDEA) is the dry-erase paint by IdeaPaint. But two years later, I can say with confidence that its has fundamentally help transform the learning space, engage learners informally and formally, and enhance the Core Cs: choice, collaboration, communication, community, connections, creativity, creation, critical thinking, and curation.
Learning Space Transformation
Because many of us have become accustom to the norm of school spaces, it is quite easy to miss the opportunities within a classroom: walls, floors, desk tops, ceilings, windows, doors, and more. Too often, these are empty spaces with little more than functional value.
But, it is here that we have a tremendous opportunity to rethink these functional surfaces into learning surface. In the IDEA, we transformed two main areas in our ongoing efforts to reshape learning in all we see and have:
1. The Graffiti Pole
The IDEA has a weight barring pole in the room that is of considerable size. While serving an important need, it offered little to the space in terms of professional learning and student design. It would have been easy to merely dismiss the potential. However, we converted this common surface into a form of a learning commons with Idea Paint. Quickly, this pole has become a hub of activity: daily questions, art work, musings, notes, ideas, and creative outlets.
2. Think Tank Walls
50% of the wall space is covered in Idea Paint. These learning surfaces represent our community Think Tank walls where all learners, students and educators alike, work on problems, brainstorm ideas, share thoughts, and make their learning public. The ideas incubation is shared with all visitors and open to modifications and contributions. Therein lies one of its greatest strength – the ability to promote and build community!
Enhancing the Cs
The building and promoting of community led by the Idea Paint was one of those wonderful, unanticipated gifts. The graffiti pole and the think tank walls quickly became hubs for others to congregate synchronously and asynchronously. It became the binding component between individuals and groups, ideas in isolations and ideas in networks.
Quickly, these community-building spots opened the door to creative outlets (storyboarding, storytelling, cartoons, art work, filming, etc) shared with visitors and the curation of knowledge across professional development. This building of connections and playing with ideas, one can only believe that we are seeing new levels of deep learning that blends both formal and informal learning.
The IDEA is built upon the idea of active, social learning. What is amazing to witness is how much the surfaces are being leveraged. Without question, we are finding an even greater need for surface areas for sharing, thinking, and publicizing. As time progresses, the mobile tables and the doors are great targets for additional spots. Currently, these two surfaces are not being maximized and offer great real estate for open, connective learning.
With the Cs, innovation, and engagement at its core, the IDEA has leveraged Idea Paint as one of the most important pieces in the design of this space.
Image #1: http://gbhsweb.glenbrook225.org/gbn/communitynewsletter/