During the past few years I have felt very fortunate to have a fantastic admin team at CIS that has been extremely supportive in making sure the Educational Media Center grows as a learning center, not only in terms of resources but also facilities.
Last School year, in preparation for the upcoming renovation of our EMC, we had to start thinking and planning on the design of a space that would be conducive to the challenges of a 21st century learning environment. Before getting hands on, we had to think about how the EMC could provide a space that is engaging, creative, flexible, adaptable and supportive to new and more varied modes of learning.
While we were gathering information and suggestions, an idea hit me like a bolt of lightening:
“We have to give students something special and inviting. The EMC has to offer a physical environment that is different from any other space in school that teachers and students regularly use.”
My point was, why would students and teachers use the EMC facilities, when they can continue to use their own classroom, a more private space that has been customized to their specific needs?
In our efforts to make a 21st century learning center, we had mistakenly tried to recreate a standard, formal library, with a space with tables and chairs at the very front of the EMC, assuming that teachers would want to use it as an expanded classroom.
After months of discussions and drawing of design alternatives, we decided to redesigned the EMC space to make it more of a “movie theater”, as well as open up the shelving to spread the tables throughout the library to allow more privacy in seating and better supervision:
Our next step was to renovate the “computer lab” area and transform it into a multimedia editing suite with 14 brand new desktop computers and a floating cart of laptops for students use.
Can you tell from the pictures that everything in the EMC is on wheels now? So we do have a lot of movement and flexibility. The EMC has become a multi-purpose space since once you remove everything on wheels, all you have left is an open space ready to be rearrange for workshops, presentations, meetings, etc
We are hoping we have captured the “something different” concept with these major renovations. Is there any teacher at CIS who has a movie theatre in his/her classroom with comfortable chairs and soft seating areas? (and wait until we install surround sound speakers…coming very soon).
It is working! We are seeing changes already! More students are coming on a daily basis. The atmosphere feels friendly but at the same time we can see that the MHS students are focusing on their tasks. There is energy and purpose in the EMC!
What other brain waves can you offer to help us continue what we have already started?