February 11, 2010
Photo via: PRWeb.com
Remember your dorm room? Yuck. (Or maybe you can’t remember, but that’s another story.) The opposite of “yuck” is the trend today.
Take the William Jessup University in Rocklin, California, for example. It recently won an American Institute of Architects chapter award for its new student apartment building. Beyond being a great place to reside, the 192-bed, 24-apartment project preserved “the original conversion of the Herman Miller furniture factory, designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry.”
So, the place has the look, but does it deliver the good life? You bet. Each apartment has a full kitchen, wireless Internet, cable TV, central air, a two-story parking garage, laundry facilities, and a courtyard big enough for community gatherings and barbeques. “Boola, Boola.”
December 15, 2009
“Okay, class,” I say, “get into groups.”
A collective sigh, then shuffling and scraping of chairs. I survey the results.
“No, Jonah. You can’t sit in a corner and read. Move here. Lynsey, turn around. You guys, arrange yourselves so you can talk to each other.”
This is the drill every time I want my English Comp class to analyze a story or to discuss questions. Why is this so hard?
Simple. It’s bad design.
Designers, educators, and Herman Miller are known to encourage collaboration. In fact, Herman Miller is partnering with several institutions to try on some new approaches to learning spaces and to measure the result.
And yet, while we expound on the power of collective intelligence and the value of teamwork, most classrooms are still furnished with immobile, tank-like tables all lined up in rows. If the design of an environment signals how it should be used, most classrooms signal naptime.
I’m confident that students will, by and large, survive their educational gestation in these bland boxes and emerge when the real world prods them into out-of-the-box thinking, but in the meantime, it sure ought to be easier to create an environment conducive to teamwork in the classroom. Or at least to form a group.
Technology, What's Up
December 2, 2009
First off, that’s not me at the easel. Happens to be a student in the library at North Carolina State University. It could have been me, though, because the other day I got the chance, along with the Herman Miller Education Solutions Group, to go to school on what’s next for the academic library.
September 30, 2009
All over the country, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 is at work. But construction signs on our roadways are just one visible example. There are lots of other ways we can reap the benefits.