An Educator Designing for Education
- Featured Blog
Education has been evolving gradually over a long period of time. From the traditional Gurukuls to smart classrooms, the timeline has been evident and it is visible in the way a teacher educates. Today, in a post pandemic world, Covid -19 has moved the entire education system to an uncharted territory. The world has become a virtual canvas for education and its forms and levels of engagement have changed the spatial requirements of an educational institute and in turn, the designers’ approach to design for education.
While an architect has a unique design ideology and process, an educator also provides a robust insight into the campus’s architectural design. This can lead to a more balanced approach towards the creation of better and more optimised spaces for learning.
As educators and designers, we get the advantage of having insight on both sides of the table. The process of learning must be experiential and also bring the student a sense of joy and excitement, which is highly dependent on the curriculum and its structure. As designers, we need to ensure that the language of the building is such that the student can engage with it. Spatial planning plays a vital role in how one shapes the design of the institute and its ideology and culture, which manifests as the crux and the basis on which the institute is going to be built. The pandemic has proven that creating a healthy environment is highly essential for the students’ physical and mental health. While designing for this new system of education, here are some broader aspects to look into-
- Overall Planning
With interactive and collaborative teaching methods, the architecture must aim to be engaging and communal. Biophilic design is becoming a frequently used approach; For educational campuses, this is highly advantageous as it gives designers the freedom to bring the outdoors in and maintain a delicate balance between built and unbuilt forms. Corridors occupy about 30% of the area; therefore, focusing on them and making them more attractive than monotonous circulatory paths is essential. There is nothing as healthy as integrating the green with the built volume in order to manifest learning and values through a well-planned space.
- Micro Planning
Modularity in design can give a new perspective to the functionality of a space; an example could be the use of an element such as collapsable walls. With expansible walls, the room can act as an extended space, a confined space or even a private zone. One need not be surrounded by walls throughout school hours. This flexibility in space can be achieved by moving away from the typical 8 X 6 Classroom structure. The size of the room can be decided by taking into consideration the activity of that space. For a contemporary education system that focuses on vocational learning, spaces need to transform as per the pedagogy. Teaching can be done through art, sports, or even theatrics. With flexible furniture and extension to the outdoors, the teacher is provided with the liberty to adopt any of these teaching methods.
- A balance between physical and virtual learning.
With the new era of digitalization, online learning has been an advantage to everyone seeking to learn new skills and attend new courses, with new found access to global education. As opposed to fixed courses that are within your physical reach, now there are more options to choose from. From within the comfort of our homes, anyone can attend a course that is being conducted in another city or another country altogether.
Virtual learning also has its disadvantages; A human connection is important for children, especially the younger ones. They spend most of their hours in school, which aid their personality development and neurodevelopment. When a student is learning by himself digitally, not only is he/she isolated in their own unique space, but also have limitedinteraction and collaboration with others. This can lead to a generation full of introverts, which are not preferred personalities in a highly creative and connected world. Hence, schools must not be rigid and instead have a designated space within the institute to cater to online learning. A campus that enables the switching between modes of learning allows students and parents to opt for their own preferred methods.
The parameters of teaching change for every generation; these include the teaching methodology and sensory perceptions-. A school once built, lasts for generations to come. Hence, one must envision what the future holds for the institute and the learning system, while approaching its design. The new system has its pros and cons, but if one balances technological progress and physical interaction, the ultimate goal of shaping successful children can be achieved.