About The Learning Spaces Collaboratory Roundtables

The Learning Spaces Collaboratory Roundtables are designed to focus on the future of planning 21st century learning spaces for 21st century learners. Their design reflects research in social creativity:       

Social creativity is based on the assumption that the power of the unaided individual mind is fundamentally limited. Although creative individuals are often thought of as working in isolation, much human creativity arises from activities that take place in a social context in which interaction with other people and the artifacts that embody collective knowledge are important contributors to the process.

Because the fundamental problems of the 21st century are systemic, complex, and open-ended, they require the ongoing contributions of many minds, particularly from the people who own the problems and are directly affected by them. Unique new opportunities and challenges to enhance social creativity are facilitated by cultures of participation. (Gerhard Fischer. Social Creativity: Making All Voices Heard: Learning, Social Creativity, Cultures of Participation. http://l3d.cs.colorado.edu/~gerhard/papers/social-creativity-hcii-2005.pdf)

Their intent is to provide an environment in which academics and architects begin to reframe how 21st century learning spaces are planned: identifying new kinds of questions to be brought to the planning table, embracing the future of planning more audaciously. As described by Harvard’s David Perkins:

Through skepticism, questioning, analogy, brainstorming, trial and error, exhaustive search and many other ways, inventors transgress boundaries to devise fundamentally fresh and more powerful ways of doing things. (David Perkins. Mapping the Inventive Mind. National Academy of Sciences, 2004.)

The LSC roundtables are brainstorming opportunities, devoid of the pressure to focus on a specific facilities project. They are a strategy to capture audacious questions from a diverse community of practitioners and stakeholders. The arc of questions addressed during the four-hour roundtable are prompted by questions incorporated in portfolios of participating architects included in the pre-roundtable packet of resources. In the initial roundtable setting, participants begin by sharing responses to the question: what do I want my learners to become? Following the extended, small-group brain-storming that is at the heart of the roundtable experience, participants reconvene in a “poster session” in which audacious questions from each group are examined, critiqued, applauded. The final question asked: what next? enjoins all participants to challenge their colleagues and communities to embrace the search for audacious questions in shaping spaces that matter.

These roundtables build on earlier LSC attention to questioning as a driver for planning, going beyond the central question about becoming to those about: what learning experiences will make that happen?; what spaces enable those experiences?; how will we know? Questions emerging from LSC Roundtables  build on these foundational questions, yet reflect the changing context:

How do we design spaces that serve the invisible learner? What kind of spaces enable each of them to feel as though they belong? (LSC Roundtable at North Carolina State University, 2017)

How do we teach science “authentically” so that pedagogy reveals epistemology? How do we enter the 21st century and trust that students are capable of “taking over the place?” (LSC Roundtable at California State University, 2016)

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