Learning Environments 2013

Concurrent Sessions

This is just a sampling of the types of information-rich sessions offered in Boston this July. Bookmark this page and check back often. Our conference program is being updated daily!

How Qualitative and Quantitative Trends Can Shape Planning for Learning
Richard Jones, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Director, Jones Architecture

Learning environments are some of the most rapidly changing spaces on contemporary college and university campuses. The rise of interdisciplinary research and collaborative learning has fostered a host of changes to departmental structures, institutional policies, educational pedagogy, research funding, and student life. Through case studies, this session will cover 10 qualitative trends, and the results of 18 months of quantitative data collection on libraries to demonstrate how this database shapes our recommendations.

Not Old School: Architecture In Support of Learning
Laura Wernick, AIA, REFP

Senior Principal, HMFH Architects, Inc. with Deb McNeish, Principal, Abbot Downing School

New brain research is helping us understand how students learn. It is also changing how teaching is taking place. In September of 2012, three new elementary schools opened in Concord, NH. The school buildings were designed so that different types of learning could easily take place both in and out of the classroom. A learning commons was developed allowing traditional classrooms to open into a project-based, multi-use environment. This session will explore the research and initial design process that led to the concept of the Learning Commons and discuss how it is being used by teachers and students.

Spaces and Learning: A Pedagogical and Architectural Analysis of Threshold Spaces in Primary and Elementary Schools in South Tyrol
Sandy Attia

Architect, MODUS Architects, with Beate Weyland, Professor, Faculty of Education, Free University of Bozen

This paper collates the two intertwining positions of the educator and the architect to identify a series of generically labeled "non-classroom" spaces that have inflected upon the life of the school in unexpected or significant ways. Drawing upon a number of case studies of the new school buildings constructed over the past decade, the most basic functions and elements of the school project are continually scrutinized for their architectural and pedagogical potential. These spaces are transitional spaces that act as "thresholds" both architecturally and pedagogically speaking. Their potential to foster common ground between designers and educators are examined to better facilitate the design and planning of schools. 

Topsy-Turvy: How College Dialogue Leads to Creating an Engaging Place

Mani Farhadi, LEED AP

Associate, Steinberg Architects, with Brigitte Williams, AIA, LEED AP, Director of Design, Steinberg Architects

Is your campus community having an interactive dialogue with faculty and staff about its philosophy? Are you looking to transform your educational initiatives into a facilities roadmap for the future? Brainstorming ideas can bring about campus renewal when the input is gathered in a collaborative environment. On a 50-year old site with strong architectural vocabulary, the planning process that unfolded involved all levels of participation from a California community college, leading to a unique place-making solution based on the campus culture. The results of the Education Plan brought about new programs that enhanced the campus while the Facilities Master Plan imbued it with a richer architectural language.

Collaboration and Cooperation: New Learning Environments to Support Student Success 

James LaPosta, FAIA, LEED AP

Principal / Chief Architectural Officer, JCJ Architecture, with Doreen Marvin, Director of Development, LEARN Regional Educational Services Center

Students graduate into a world of collaboration and cooperation. Learn how curriculum, facilities, technology, and engagement can help students to succeed. Through case studies of highly successful schools the common elements will be explored, including building student responsibility, creating the physical learning environment, and integrating a wide variety of technology into everyday life. Educators and architects that developed the University High School of Science and Engineering on the campus of the University of Hartford and the Marine Science Magnet High School of Southeastern Connecticut will discuss planning principles, operational realities, and post-occupancy lessons-learned.

Side by Side: Arts Education and Community
Kelly Ard, AIA

Architect, designLAB architects, with Mary Ann Upton, AIA, Architect, designLAB architects

The University of Maine Farmington, (UMF) embraced a new model for Arts Education in the recently completed Emery Community Arts Center, (ECAC).  A gift from an anonymous donor stipulated that the Center was to be used equally by the University and the local community.  The architects will present a case study about consensus based design and how collaboration between diverse stakeholders lead directly to innovative performance and display opportunities for local artists and students alike. This case study will also include a discussion of the extraordinary results possible when design and educational programming inform one another.  

FLEXspace: Flexible Learning Environment eXchange Production Migration
Lisa Stephens
Senior Strategist, SUNY Academic Innovation, SUNY System Administration and University at Buffalo, with Joseph Moreau, Vice Chancellor of Technology, Foothill-De Anza Community College District, Clare van den Blink, Director, Academic Technologies, Cornell University, and Mark McCallister, Associate Director, Office of Academic Technology, University of Florida

This presentation describes and demonstrates a new, emerging service entitled FLEXspace: Flexible Learning Environments eXchange.  This rich media repository is designed to provide peer reviewed examples of learning spaces in three specific domains: A/V Integration, Facilities Design, and Pedagogy and Assessment.  Support is being sought to continue to development of this pilot tool which is anticipated to reduce institutional learning space planning and renovation cycle time, and encourage expansion of innovative instruction planning to support new active learning and digital content capture models. The timing of this conference offers participants a significant opportunity to represent organizational interests in shaping the production service outcomes scheduled for Spring 2014.


Understanding Net Generation Through Their Learning Environment:  How Do They Study in the Coffee Shops?
Ngoc Vo

Doctoral Student, University of Missouri-Columbia

The study presents how students perceive the impacts of environments in the coffee shops upon their learning. Audience will get to know the nature of learning tasks in coffee shops, the perceived impacts of environmental stress factors (noise, illumination, degree of freedom) upon student learning behaviors and design factors of coffee shops that are most and least desirable by students learning there.

Pre-K through Grade 1 Classroom Design after the Newtown Massacre
David Lieb

Associate Professor, The New England Institute of Art

After the events of Newtown, CT shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 16, 2012, the presenter worked with students at the New England Institute of Art Design Department using the forum of a furniture design course to re-define security design for Pre-K through Grade 1 educational classrooms. Over the course of a 10-week session, students and faculty examined typical classroom elements including furniture, access, visual control and security and defensive design utilizing the latest in security design products and materials.

Challenges in Designing and Supporting Collaborative Classrooms 
Anthony Cortes
Director of Sales and Marketing, Extron Electronics

21st century classrooms demand an ever increasing amount of educational technology to be effective. HD video, distributed audio, and voice amplification as well as 1:1 and BYOD programs have the potential to provide significant benefits to students, teachers and administrators alike. This session will provide an in-depth discussion of challenges you will face when incorporating AV technologies in your classroom and strategies for successful implementation. The advantages of managing systems over the network will also be addressed. Additional topics include lowering operating expenses, increasing system uptime, effective support, and asset planning.

Handling Hands-On: Retrofitting Technical Learning Environments to Optimize Project-Based Learning
Dan Weston

Partner, Northeast Collaborative Architects, with John Scheib, AIA, LEED AP BD + C, Project Manager, Northeast Collaborative Architects

Handling Hands-On demonstrates how planning, space-shaping, and technology transform schools into innovative learning environments.  Technical and Art education engage students in problem solving and exemplify collaboration, exploration, and student-centered learning. Handling Hands-On presenters include architects and administrators who examine retrofitted schools that maximize project-based learning, review critical planning steps, and demonstrate the art of creating dynamic spaces.

The Wired Schoolhouse: Building Efficient and Safer Schools
Terry Gordon

Consultant Liaison, FrontRow with Eric Marshall, Principal, E.R.I.C. Co. Low Voltage Services

Learn how integrated school-wide IP communications are more flexible by supporting schools that need to sustain a variety of bell schedules, page-specific classrooms and create scheduled events.  Also understand the importance of interoperability between paging, classroom audio and AV Control, and also emergency alert systems and other school communication platforms..  Finally, converging school-wide communication platforms will ultimately save schools money by eliminating redundant equipment, labor, and support.

Held in Conjunction With: