Clearly I am obsessed with Good.is this week. Go have a look at this article that will provide great food for thought not only for educators but also designers, human factors specialists, futurists and place-based theorists. The article asks a question we haven't asked as readily as we should in the US - what if you built a school without conventional classrooms? The problems of the conventional classroom are well-established in the literature (if you want the bibliography, feel free to email me). Given that the state of California alone will spend billions of dollars over the next decade on new schools, much greater, careful attention should be paid to building schools that have the capacity to be flexible enough to respond to the needs of 21st century learners. And let me be explicit. These needs do not center on learning how to sit quietly in rows for 6-8 hours a day listening to experts. Active listening is an important skill, but not to the exclusion of others. Creativity in education is important to me and to others (Sir Ken Robinson, Dan Pink, etc.). Even more important to me is the need to individualize education so that each student's particular needs are addressed by a meaningful and, to the degree possible, personalized curricululm. If you don't go out to the article, at least have a look at the Vittra schools in Sweden that inspired the original post. Food for thought for me.
Further discussion on exactly what is in Scandinavia's water that's causing all of these fascinating educational innovations to come.