How is innovation and creativity perceived in educational centres? Some schools are considered innovative for the way they use their learning spaces, while others are hailed for their forward-thinking pedagogical approaches. Undoubtedly, creativity and innovation are promoted when space and pedagogical lines work hand in hand.
We have helped hundreds of centres to update their spaces and build coherence with their educational project, and working to understand their aspirations and needs has led us to delve into this topic that we are dealing with today. What makes a school innovative?
- Students as individuals
The first characteristic that many of the innovative or future schools have in common is their vision of children. Students are viewed as unique individuals rather than groups, and are educated accordingly. They offer personalised learning, often with personal assistive technologies, and encourage children to take an active role in their education. Standardisation is not present in the daily dynamics. Rather, customization and flexibility are paramount, and children are encouraged to work and progress at their own pace.
- Education beyond the classroom
Secondly, these types of schools are connected to the outside world. Openness to the world, to the community and to nature is a value to work on. This is why, in some cases, local communities are encouraged to participate in the life of the school, and may also use the learning spaces for other purposes. There are explicit connections between what is learned in the classroom and the world of work. Education in these schools is not only about the transmission of knowledge, but also about developing the skills and competencies necessary to survive and prosper once the student has completed their formal education.
- Learning for the future
Thirdly, education is delivered in a way that encourages critical and creative thinking, through the use of problem solving, discussion, and active engagement with the environment. Learning by doing again and again is a priority, and connections are made between the learning process and what is actually learned.
- Creative and collaborative spaces.
Finally, the design of the learning spaces is creative. They do not imitate the model of the traditional standard school. Instead, learning spaces take many interesting forms and intriguing features. Because the spaces are flexible, they can be used for a wide variety of creative purposes, and teaching and learning are more varied.
It is evident that in these types of centres the use of school furniture that allows cooperative learning is key. These are our favourite school tables for innovative schools.
The innovative design of the buildings encourages teachers and students to take risks and experiment, to organise themselves in groups and to develop different dynamics in a single space. Thus, versatility, mobility and acoustic comfort are key concepts. These are some of the proposals that Mirplay School has developed for super classrooms or classrooms with multiple spaces.
Learning is not limited to school spaces either. Blended approaches, where face-to-face learning is mixed with non-face-to-face learning, also seem to be a common feature, just like taking the classroom out of the centre and learning surrounded by nature or exploring the city, for example. Z-tool