Monday, May 31, 2010

Design is the Third Teacher

A new book, The Third Teacher, says the environment is the third teacher but the real message of the book is that the environments in which students learn must be designed. The book provides ways to use design to transform teaching and learning by stating each of 79 principles on a right hand page with a concrete example described on the left facing page (right).

Created by a team of architects and designers, The Third Teacher (left) outlines the link between the design of school environments and how children learn. With interviews, facts, statistics, and stories from experts in a wide range of fields, this book is a how-to guide connecting organizations, individuals, and ideas dedicated to innovating and improving teaching and learning. Contributors include children’s singer and advocate Raffi, author and creativity consultant Sir Ken Robinson, scientist and environmentalist David Suzuki, inventor James Dyson, and other experts who are working to create fresh solutions to problems and create a new blueprint for the future of education.

The Third Teacher is a collaboration between an architectural firm (OWP/P Architects), a school furniture supplier (VS Furtniture), and a world famous design firm (Bruce Mau Design). OWP/P Architects has offices in Chicago and Phoenix and has worked with more than 150 school clients to support their educational vision. VS Furniture is a 110-year-old manufacturer of educational furnishings based in Germany. Bruce Mau Design is a business and cultural design studio with offices in Toronto and Chicago.

The 79 ideas in the book are grouped in clusters including:
Basic Needs, Minds at Work, Bodies in Motion, Community Connections, Sustainable Schools, Realm of the Senses, Learning for All, Rewired Learning, and Your Ideas.

There is an active Facebook discussion about the book and you can click on the heading above to go to the web site for The Third Teacher.

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