Why empathy is important when building a STEM makerspace
As an Educator, if your goal is to inspire students to fall in love with science, technology, and creating, ask yourself: Do I understand what my students are drawn to? intimidated by? where they learn best? what makes them feel comfortable? You and the architect you select should be prepared (and excited) for a deep dive to learn about the students before building their space. More >

Six Must-Have School Spaces for Project-Based Learning
More than other approaches to education, the success of PBL is heavily reliant on the resources and environment you provide for students. Equip your students to become problem solvers, game-changers and future leaders with these six must-have classroom spaces for project-based learning. More >

Three Ways to Design Better Classrooms and Learning Spaces
We’ve looked at schools from around the world and even assessed our own projects to pinpoint common mistakes and successful architecture. Here are three things we’ve learned that school leaders must get right when tackling school design for the future. More >

We’re designing schools of the future with tools of the past — and it’s hurting our education
The way we learn has changed dramatically over the past few decades — so it makes sense that the places where we learn should change dramatically as well. Continuing to create concrete boxes with fixed walls and rigid classroom spaces makes as much sense as investing in floppy disks. More >

Designing Places for Learning – TEDx
School architecture. It’s not sexy or in the front pages. But it could be the key to breakthrough advancements in education. Architect Danish Kurani explains why people learn best in the presence of good architecture, and unveils a fresh approach to building better schools. More >

How Low-Cost Designs Can Support High-Tech Classrooms
Although technology is an attractive add to a stale classroom, stuffing schools with high tech tools isn’t the answer to offering dynamic learning experiences. Technology is certainly a part of that solution, but the rest of the environment has to also be considered and curated. We’ve found that infusions of tech work best when they’re considered as part of the entire learning environment, including the space and conditions that enable technology to be functional and effective. More >

The End of Traditional Classrooms
At home, every room is designed to help us perform a specific task. Kitchens are outfitted with tools to help us cook. Bedrooms are made quiet and comfortable so we can sleep. And bathrooms are full of gadgets to help us wash. At Kurani, we recently extended this logic of “microenvironments” into the education world when New York City asked us to design campuses for its new EPIC Schools. More >

10 Reasons To Re-Design Your School Space
Did you know that even the most basic characteristics of your physical environment — so the air, light, colors, and materials that surround you — have a strong effect on how you feel and how you think? This connection has great significance in school settings. The important decisions made about a campus design in turn impact how students perform and learn. They also affect teaching practices and capabilities. More >

Copyright Danish Kurani
Basic Needs for Students and Teachers
Remember the physiological and safety needs in Maslow’s Hierarchy? Those needs parallel the basic needs that teachers and students have in their learning environments. Without safe, clean, and functional school buildings, education suffers. The physical environment has a significant impact on educators and learners. Policy makers, school leaders, and designers must all consider this clear evidence as they plan to upgrade or create learning spaces. Our diagram here gives a small glimpse at some of the impacts that architecture can have on learning. More >

Copyright Danish Kurani
3 Characteristics of a Creative Classrooom
Every day educators are tasked to cultivate bright and creative minds. Yet many teachers are restricted by the environments they are provided. They must work within various constraints to build a classroom that will support their goals and encourage creative thinking amongst their students. We wanted to know: what are the key characteristics and challenges of a creative classroom? So we spent time shadowing Christina Jenkins, teacher at NYC iSchool, a public high school in Manhattan. More >

Natural Light Aids Concentration
Until the 1950s when electric power costs declined, natural light was the primary means of illuminating most school spaces. Natural daylight has been shown to increase concentration and learning, while providing an uplifting effect on feelings, well-being, and health. Recent studies have shown adverse effects on learning outcomes from fluorescent lighting, resulting in a renewed interest in increasing natural daylight in school buildings. More >

Noise and Cognition
There is considerable literature on the effects of noise on human functioning, much of it considering children in noisy learning environments. Research indicates that high levels of background noise, much of it from heating and cooling systems, adversely affects learning environments, particularly for young children, who require optimal conditions for hearing and comprehension. More >

Defining Learning Environments
Before discussing exactly how the learning environment can contribute to the capacity of teachers and development of learners, let us first define the learning environment. The learning environment is both physical and social; it includes physical spaces and the people occupying them. Since the decision of which people and how many people occupy a particular school setting is generally a matter of administration and outside the scope of the designer, we will focus on the physical learning environment (PLE). The PLE includes both internal and external spaces, shared community facilities, landscapes, as well as associated technologies. More >

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