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Child psychologists have long argued that changing the approach we take to education would help many children learn to love school rather than hate it. We’ve all heard pre-schoolers talk about how they can’t wait to sit at their school desk and run to their next lesson with their rucksack over their shoulder. In fact, we probably remember that feeling of excitement ourselves the first time we went. But right from the first days of school, many children feel a huge sense of disappointment with what they encounter. At the Saunalahti school in the city of Espoo, Finland, they’ve found a brilliant way to overcome this problem. Starting just with the school building itself, you’d look at it and never think...

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The problems that plague education around the world aren’t the result of a lack of attention or care. Parents, business leaders, political leaders and educators in countries everywhere are dedicated to improving how they educate their people. Every year, billions of dollars are spent on education initiatives in curriculum and teaching practices. This investment has enabled incremental improvements. But our potential for better education remains limited by the physical spaces themselves, most of which receive little investment and attention. When it comes to thinking about the places where learning happens, we are woefully behind—and it’s stifling our progress in all other...

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Makerspaces, STEAM labs and fab labs are popping up in schools across the country. Makerspaces provide hands-on, creative ways to encourage students to design, experiment, build and invent as they deeply engage in science, engineering and tinkering. A makerspace is not solely a science lab, woodshop, computer lab or art room, but it may contain elements found in all of these familiar spaces. Therefore, it must be designed to accommodate a wide range of activities, tools and materials. Diversity and cross-pollination of activities are critical to the design, making and exploration process, and they are what set makerspaces and STEAM...

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A well-designed learning space should have a motivating effect on the students, teachers and community members who interact with it. If we accept that space can be used to boost motivation then this surely needs to be an important consideration when we design and implement thoughtful changes to our learning environments. When we make a change to a learning space, whether it be a large scale rebuild, or a simple addition of a new and flexible piece of furniture to an existing classroom, the impact of the changes must motivate and excite teachers and students. ... Continue Reading  

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