The shared area was a very exciting place to be! Students quickly got into the design brief and managed their own resources and groupings. Some chose to work alone but most worked with a partner or small group. Everyone found their own 'little nook and cranny' to work in. Choosing to draw on windows and other surfaces with special pens were also a big hit.
Towards the end of the session I asked a few students what they had enjoyed most about it. One student said, "I enjoyed having my own idea and not having to change it." He was so intently involved in developing his ideas and really had time to change and refine them. I'm a big fan of cooperative groupings but I could see that for him, choosing to work alone in this instance was far more rewarding and his product, far more detailed.
The same themes arose when we looked at the main considerations for learning spaces...students wanted colour, places to work that were different ie. not tables and chairs in groups of 4 and also little spots for working alone without distractions. They also were aware of the importance of sound, and some put in carpets and rugs to try and reduce it. Of course there were some outlandish designs but even then one could see the spark of creativity and the building on of ideas that are important factors in the design process.
Would love to hear of anyone else doing something similar. Please comment or connect with me @21stcenteducat via Twitter