D. Vyortkina

Florida State University (UNITED STATES)
We aimed to create a dynamic learning environment where our College of Education students could learn and practice using various instructional technologies and tools and have clear understanding on how they can be embedded into real life teaching, learning, assessment, and research. This facility (open modern learning space type) houses technologies that are currently in use or will be used in PreK-12, continuing and higher education, and other educational organizations, allowing our students meeting rigorous accreditation requirements, state standards, and accomplished practices and preparing our graduates for successful professional careers. TechSandbox activities are directly aligned with the COE Strategic Plan and might contribute to further grant acquisitions for COE faculty.

The effective design of learning spaces—whether a classroom, a laboratory, a library, or an informal space—can enhance learning. The design of learning spaces goes beyond the physical to include the virtual. Educators, technologists, and space planners are combining and morphing to accommodate communication, collaboration, and various technologies. It should become crossroads between faculty and students, between the curricular and the cocurricular, between work and play—a place of student life. The facility would communicate, in its look and feel, that many types of use are acceptable.

Guiding principles for design:
• Clear and navigable to every user.
• Movable furniture and furniture clusters.
• Flexibility and adaptability (e.g., wheels on chairs and tables, movable walls, writable spaces on the walls that could change, adapt, and reinforce the suitability of a location to the work attempted within it, curricular or cocurricular, faculty or student, individual or group.
• Accessibility.
• User comfort and commitment to comfort-oriented furniture.
• Good lights.
• Lack of reflection on the screens.
• Must support group work and become well-integrated work environments that supports collaborative projects and resource sharing.

We will describe how this facility is based on the major principles of constructivism and andragogy, what technologies are currently included in this modern learning space, how we work with students and staff, and what lessons we learned organizing professional development and enrichment activities and resources for the Tech Sandbox users.

The authors will benefit from this presentation as many design and pedagogical principles are transferable across disciplines and types of organizations.