Keith Hammelman, PE, was recently published in the Winter 2017 Issue of the Illinois ASBO UPDATE Magazine. His piece, titled “How Capital Improvement Factors Into 21st Century Learning,” outlines how 21st century learning impacts physical and virtual environments, and the instruction of students. The article is co-authored by Sean Gordon, CPMM, Director of Buildings and Grounds at Community Consolidated School District 93.

In taking a look at bricks and mortar construction, new technology, and flexible design and furnishes, the piece offers tips to setting design principles, improving the educational experience and fostering teamwork. The digital copy of UPDATE can be found here, with some excerpts below.

On design principles:

Educational spaces meet 21st century learning standards by applying specific design principles. Examples of these principles include:

  • Creating a learning space that is easy to reconfigure and can engage different kinds of learners.
  • Giving students a work space, studio or workshop to put their ideas and theories to the test.
  • Making the building an active learning experience with technology.
  • Applying various textures in finishes, natural light and strategically applied paint colors for a multisensory setting.

These types of spaces allow for connecting different curriculums and are multi-purpose in nature, which can double as professional development or after-hours community space.

On flexible design and furnishings:

In addition to looking at technology when creating learning environments, one should look at how furniture and interior design will be integrated into the design of these spaces. Best practices in education no longer supports the idea of the teacher as an authoritarian figure standing in the front of the room scrawling on a chalkboard. The role of educators has been reshaped so that they work beside students providing support and encouragement for each student’s personal journey. A traditional classroom with four walls, desks in rows and a whiteboard at the front of the classroom will not meet the needs of a 21st century learning environment.

Learn more about our education practice >