Well designed school buildings can be a catalyst for pedagogical change.
Imagine a room full of students, administrators, teachers, and architects. In this room, students come together with designers and their educators in order to brainstorm what their learning environments should look like in order for them to effectively learn. By empowering student voice in this manner, how would attendance rates change? Furthermore, if given an environment that honors the student voice, and encourages play, how would student engagement increase? This same idea can be applied to our teachers and educators. If teachers are taken through a newly designed space and given tutorials on how to maximize transparent glass walls, and energy efficient LED lights, how could lesson plans and curriculum be shaped? If we removed teachers from individual classrooms, and put them in a workroom, how would K-12 education change? Would interdisciplinary studies become more prominent because teachers were given more time to interact with each other?
Design thinking creates the atmosphere for these types of questions to be asked in ideation sessions within school districts. If more design thinking was integrated into education, new prototypes could be developed in order to work to solve the current educational issues we are facing today. From those prototypes of new educational facilities, new pedagogical methods could then be discovered. This would then lead to educators and architects coming together to assess and learn how to re-shape, re-define and possibly, continually adapt, designs. If educational buildings are one of our largest educational investments, then design thinking should certainly be at the forefront of our thoughts when it comes to changing our educational system by allowing construction to inform instruction.
Further resources for design thinking in education: