Contract - March 2009 - (Page 10)

editorial Jennifer Thiele Busch Editor in Chief is the classroom the future? In late February, our “The Future of Design: K-12 Learning Environments” showcase (results posted on under the “design features” section of the Web site) underscored the important role not only of technology, but also of technological competency, in the classroom of the future. Administrated, compiled, and written by senior editor Katie Weeks and sponsored by KI, this informal but informative foray into future thinking about our educational institutions offered some real food for thought. My favorite observation was made by showcase juror Andrea Cohen Gehring, AIA, LEED AP, partner at WWCOT in Santa Monica, Calif., who said: “The classroom of the future is less about architecture and design and more about teaching and learning and allowing teachers to put the information out there for kids to receive it in whichever way works best for them.” The picture jurors Nancy Huvendick, program director at the 21st Century School Fund in Washington, D.C., and Bradley Lukanic, AIA, LEED AP, associate principal at Cannon Design in New York, painted of plugged-in school kids of all ages Googling for more information or an answer to a question on a PDA or laptop while the teacher is speaking about a concept is a far cry from my grammar school days when we were told to sit still, look forward (never at the clock!), and take copious notes. The image calls to mind a recent visit to my nineyear-old daughter’s fourth grade class on parent visitation day, when a story the teacher was reading to the class prompted one child to raise his hand and ask a question about communism. Realizing that most of the students had no idea what he was talking about, the teacher instructed the class “researcher” to go to the computer find out what she could about communism, then report back to the others. After I was done chuckling, I realized that I was quite impressed about this new way of classroom teaching and learning. “The interesting thing about Google and technology is that teachers (and also librarians) may not only be teaching students how to look for something, but also how to be good editors and how to filter valued content from garbage,” added Lukanic. Indeed, I have always impressed upon my own children that the key to being “smart” is not knowing all the answers, but knowing how to find the answers. Increasingly, I can see that lesson must be amended to include the all-important concept of evaluating information for its worth. (It is not at all unlike the role of an editor.) From the perspective of someone who was raised on the authority of the Encyclopedia Britannica and the reference section in the local library, the quality of information was an absolute. But with so much at their fingertips, today’s kids rightly learn to question everything, raising their minds, no doubt, to a new level of inquisitiveness. Our role as parents, teachers, and designers is to give them the mental and physical tools they need to explore and decipher, not necessarily bound by bricks and mortar, but supported by them nonetheless. Kudos and thanks to all of our “The Future of Design: K-12 Learning Environments” jurors for bringing their interesting thoughts to the table (and don’t forget to read the entire article on our Web site). What is design if it is not an anticipation of the future? For this reason, Contract will periodically invite our readers to submit their ideas for other future showcases, focusing perhaps on the future of the patient room, or the guestroom, or the private office. Stay tuned to for invitations to participate. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and the dialogue they provoke. Submit a Letter to the Editor at 10 contract march 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - March 2009

Contract - March 2009
Color Therapy
On The Green
Shifting First Cost Mentalities
Eco Chic
Realm of Possibility
Favorite Table
About Face
Seeing Is Believing
Domestic Partnership
Designers Rate: Occasional Tables
Behind Business Development
Ad Index

Contract - March 2009