But how much do large, flexible spaces promote student collaboration and creativity?The answer is that they matter a lot, said Eric Newton, innovation chief at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in Phoenix. The school resides in a six-story building with a central gathering space and other spaces similar to the Palo Alto High media center. After a visit to the Arizona State site in 2009, Palo Alto High students, teachers and community members were so inspired by the building that they suggested that some of its features be incorporated into the design of the Media Arts Center in Palo Alto.“The physical design of the space absolutely helps,” Newton said, especially when it comes to promoting collaboration. “It shouldn’t matter whether it’s for high school or college students,” he said. “We have to prepare students for a future that they can’t imagine, and how to succeed in the 21st century, using adaptability, creativity and empathy, along with ethics and problem-solving.”“You can’t do it in a regimented environment,” Newton said, and “the best ideas come in collaborative environments.”
Temporary Walls Promote Student Collaboration
Screenflex couldn’t agree more that flexible space is essential to creating an environment that promotes collaboration between students and adults. Wide open classrooms with comfortable and portable seating are a staple in mainstream academia today. But, as seen here in the back of the image, portable walls are also an essential element to the flexible classroom. When privacy is needed for smaller groups, recording sessions, video conference, etc, students and staff simply roll a portable wall into place to create the needed space. Once the task is complete, the wall is closed for storage. Additionally, the temporary walls can be used to display student artwork or projects. Simply, tack, pin or staple items to the fabric surface. Screenflex portable partitions are designed with an extra layer of insulation to aid in sound absorption. This is ideal for large open rooms as well.