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Is it “Back to the Future” as personalized learning shifts how we create forward-thinking learning spaces? Ye olde one-room schoolhouse may be hipper than you think
So much for “old school.” The digital revolution is bringing change to every arena, but perhaps nowhere is its effect as far-reaching as in our K-12 public education system. With learning increasingly mobile and personalized, the classic chalkboard-based classroom is a dinosaur. “Our new buildings are designed around collaborative learning, with project-based labs next to multipurpose collaborative space. More use of glass rather than brick walls, campuses that are entirely wireless,” says Bill Lewis, Charleston County School District’s chief operating officer for capital programs. The new Laing Middle School in Mount Pleasant (above), designed as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) magnet school to open in August 2015, features a “cafeteria” designed around at least four uses (small workgroups, assemblies, performance space, community multi-use), says Lewis. The media center will be more like a Starbucks or Barnes & Nobles, with soft furniture, technology galore, and mostly e-books. Technology infrastructure for all new CCSD buildings will be designed from the front end to support 1:1 learning. “This is clearly not the tombstone classroom of the past,” Lewis says.