The need for a change in current education is a matter of first necessity and already, some schools are taking the necessary measures for such modernization. This change is not only necessary in the methodology, but also in the implementation of technology or the use of versatile, dynamic and functional furniture.
We have been able to discuss these issues with Rodrigo Limón, a Mexican designer of work and learning spaces who has worked with the best centers in Latin America. With over 15 years in the education sector, Limón has been growing within the sector and, currently, is an expert in the design and creation of workspaces in order to obtain the best performance.
- As a spaces designer, could you explain to us a few points that are important when designing a classroom?
The most important thing when designing a classroom is to be flexible. Teachers must be able to change the setting of the space in minutes in order to establish different ways of working based on the needs and interests of the students and the teachers themselves.
- There are more and more discussions about new pedagogical methods and the need to change the landscape. The profile of the students changes, they begin to use the Tablet almost in the cradle. How should ICT be applied in the new education?
Technology is one more tool. The profile and the habits of the students may be different today, but the way of learning is the same; they continue to learn more from their peers than from teachers or their parents or any other source. The electronic devices make them have access to more information, but they must have a space to discuss, debate, validate, etc.
- What do you think stops the schools from taking the step to change?
First, they ignore the advantages of a good design, then the budget but we have also found schools that know they want to change and have a budget, but as their buildings were designed in another time the spaces are not adequate.
- One of the aims of Mirplay is to create flexible classrooms that allow to change the disposition of the classroom easily. Do you think that makes learning easier?
Of course, that is the basis. The furniture should be another tool for the teacher. If we are going to work in a “debate circle”, for example, everyone needs to see the others. The change in the classroom must be made quickly, without major effort and without damaging the equipment, so the furniture must meet those needs.
- Do you think that the furniture and how it is placed plays an important role in the students’ willingness to learn?
Undoubtedly, the adequate configuration of the space and the possibility of reorganizing it will facilitate, stimulate and encourage students to participate in the different activities that are proposed. It is not possible to have a conversation with someone who is behind you, nor is it possible to have a relaxed talk if you have a table in the middle. Those are the “small” things that do not allow us to reach excellence
- Mirplay works to create classrooms that encourage cooperative learning, which are increasingly gaining ground in the education sector. Do you think that learning from one another is a good learning method?
Personally, traditional education cost me a lot of work. What allowed me to major in two different university degrees was that I learned in a study group with my classmates, not in class or not alone. That’s why I’m a promoter of collaborative study. What makes a society advance is innovation. As Jorge Wagensberg said: “Innovation requires three things: having a good idea; realize that it is; and to convince others of it, and it is almost never the same person who achieves the three. “We must not forget that all innovation is the fruit of a collaborative process, so we must create adequate spaces for this purpose.