Friday, May 19, 2006

Collaborative Learning Spaces in England

Collaborative Spaces in Europe
Designing new collaborative learning spaces has become an important discussion in IT and Library circles. This trend is not only occurring in the United States, but also worldwide. The image on the left is from the Metropolitan University in London. This collaborative space is used by college students, but also for special computer workshops for younger adults. These spaces provide an opportunity for learners to work individually, in groups, and also provides the chance to work collaboratively with faculty and instructors. In this example, a group is given a project to solve a problem. The students formulate their own individual solutions, work as a group, and then consult with the teacher. This changes the classroom dynamic from a traditional (more passive) lecture format, to a situation where the learner and teacher are more engaged. Designing collaborative environments requires the designer to think about space, furniture, and room flexibility. AC power is probably more of a concern than network access, as wireless connectivity is becoming more of a standard for technology spaces. Carefully thinking about the space well in advance of any implementation is essential to provide an environment for effective teaching and learning. Look for more discussions on collaborative spaces in upcoming postings.