November 09, 2010

Ordrup: Seven Spaces of Technology & School Environments Embodied

Peter Clausen, Chairman of the School Board at Ordrup in Gentofte, Denmark, a parent in the school design process, describes the multiple-space school. This place is the Seven Spaces of School Design embodied.

It's designed around the fact that students can find out facts on their own, and that teachers' best role is as guide. It is totally centred around the individual, "where teachers address the students as individuals and not as a mass." The building contrives against any such pedagogical attempt.

There are nooks and crannies everywhere, real secret spaces for doing some quiet "absorption" away from the crowd:

Secret Spaces 2 Ordrup

Raised platforms are there for blue sky thinking, there are participative wells in which students can sit and discuss:

Participative Ordrup Space

Ordrup School Participation Space

Ordrup Homework Space This school really is based around the premise that we cannot have differentiated teaching without differentiated rooms. I really like the more secret spaces, right, that are reminiscent of a cosy personal homework space in a child's bedroom, rather than a classroom for the masses.

From Jeff Lackney's super School Design Studio blog:

The design, created by Bosch and Fjord, is based in three concepts, ‘peace & absorption’, ‘discussion & cooperation’ and ’security & presence’, that will separate the individual areas in distinct functions and create new rooms for learning. By separating the activities and creating varied rooms space is created for dissimilarity in both teaching and play where the learning situation will be optimized.

Take five minutes out to watch the video and, if you're keen to discuss how school design could be the one technology we're not spending enough time looking at, join in a live webchat with myself and Ian Fordham, Deputy Director of the British Council for School Environments, and co-founder of the Centre for School Design in London, on just the topic.

Sign up in advance for the webchat and join us later this week!


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This goes a little too far for me, I think. (I'd obviously have to have more experience with it to gain a better understanding, but I worry that the more we individualize education, the more we create a focus on me, the less we value the ability to work in environments that a) may not be ideal and b) place a focus on the community.

Really? You don't see how having both community space and private/secret space, as they've achieved above, is more valuable than the purely communal, mass space that schools currently provide? Do take a second look at the film and you'll see what I mean.

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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