Thursday, February 9, 2017

Want to Hangout?

February 2017: Want to Hangout


I felt myself full of nervous excitement today. Two of our experts we were consulting were individuals I had connected with via Twitter. After being inspired by several TEDx videos I watched during my courses, I went looking for videos to share with my students about different designs for learning spaces. and I came across a TEDx by Christian Long about Wonder by Design. On another occasion, while the following the #learningspaces, I came across Maija Ruokanen, who had shared a Tweet of students at her school creating designs for learning spaces. After reaching out to both of these individuals, we were able to set up a time to do a Google Hangout. The goal: to find out what they were doing with classroom design, let students ask questions, and see where things went. As I am writing this post now, I can tell you it was an exciting day.


This afternoon, we got the opportunity to do a Google Hangout with Christian Long. It was the first one I have ever done and after a few volume issues (I might have forgotten the sound bar was off) and some students troubleshooting with me, we got things rolling. Christian, who has his own fourth grader, shared with us a little bit about what he believes is important in school design and some of his own experiences. I wish I could have captured this entire experience on video because this was truly exciting. He talked about the importance of starting with your questions and important verbs when you begin designing instead of beginning with the stuff. He talked about how there is really no "perfect" classroom because we are all different learners and the learners should shape the space they are in. When we got to answering questions, I couldn't have been more excited to see the growth in my students research, understanding of the topic, and reflection. Students wanted to know about:

  • What inspired him to design?
  • Do designers leave a mark behind in the buildings they create?
  • How do you design a small space to look like a big space?
  • What were his thoughts on different types of technology in the classroom?
  • How to make things best for a student in a wheelchair?
  • What do you suggest we do with our research now?
The questions were sincere, the students were excited, and I was amazed. As we finished the call with Christian with 20 minutes to spare in our day, my room was a buzz with ideas. Students wanting to put together ways to share our research with Christian, students wanting to find ways to collect questions they still had, students with ideas about how to share our Pin Wall, students with ideas for actions they might like to try, and students with questions about what they might use in order to design some potential floor plans. 

As students left for the day, I reminded then that I would be doing a Google Hangout on Air at 4PM with Maija this evening. Maija is currently working in Australia, so we were not able to get in touch with each other during the school day. The solution: Broadcast our chat live via Google Hangouts/YouTube and allow students to watch from home. This way, our chat would also be recorded to show my students later. At one point, I had about 10 students tuning in to watch from home. You can hear more of there questions in the video.

I find myself excited to see what tomorrow holds and where we go from here!