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Learning Spaces

Learning Spaces

Today, laptops and the web mean every classroom community is international as well as intimate. Yet to fully exploit the power of technology, classrooms must encourage hands-on learning and rich peer-to-peer interaction, as well.
Bill Mitchell
The Shakespeare ClassroomUndergrad Architecture Studio

Active learning methods place unique demands on the physical space in which education occurs. MIT has recognized this—and taken steps to reconfigure our learning environments. We have gutted and rebuilt the Aeronautics and Astronautics building to reflect a core educational model, redesigned and enhanced individual classrooms, and carefully overseen the makeup of facilities at our partner institutions half a world away. Bill Mitchell, former Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning and current head of the MIT Media Labs, pinpointed five guiding principles for the construction and renovation of educational spaces:

  • Community: Creative interaction supported by technological resources and physical layouts
  • Intensity: Local and remote interface, through both synchronous and asynchronous communication, that fortifies the learning experience
  • Variety: Seamless integration of technology to encourage a multitude of tasks
  • Flexibility: The ability to change with the needs of the community
  • Ubiquity: A campus where teaching and learning happen everywhere.

The practical application of these principles dictates multi-media environments, with network and wireless connectivity, videoconferencing equipment, and opportunities for hands-on experimentation. More importantly, it requires collaborative settings, where students cluster together to learn not only by doing, but by doing together.

TEAL classroom diagram
Learning Spaces
Case Studies:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
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