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Gregory Monberg

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What role does architectural design play in improving educational outcomes? Can a building design improve student creativity?

Some would argue that great teachers can get great results teaching in a tent. Others might argue that poor environmental conditions of a building can harm health, growth, productivity and learning. Do school buildings make a difference?

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  • Feb 28 2012: The answer is yes, and the trick is to incorporate technology and other teaching tools without allowing them to become a distraction. There is much to be said about an organized, uncluttered classroom that allows students to engage with one another and present new ideas in a safe, unthreatening environment. The teacher who teaches in the tent may be successful in spite of the environment, however if they have the talent and expertise to utilize their space and communication tools, they can be far more effective.

    Design that allows a classroom to transform from one teaching style to another so students may incorporate multiple dimensions and media requires more than providing tablet arm chairs and a chalkboard. I have seen professors open the shades allowing for natural light during collaborative periods and then closing the shades during lecture or independent study.

    Inspiring creativity requires some imagination and planning. Often there are "traditional classrooms" that prevent interaction and collaboration, and are designed for economy to fit as many students in the class as possible. The university that can recognize the need to enhance learning by providing for the students and not the professors will thrive.

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