Appendix 5: Physical Changes

Tips for Achieving Needed Physical Changes

Once a learning commons program is envisioned and underway schools will want to consider ways to transform the existing library and computer lab facilities into a collaborative learning environment. This need not be expensive.

  • First free up space by reviewing what is not being used and remove from the facility.
  • Make a sketch of the facility and experiment with redesign to meet learning and teaching objectives. If you need a major makeover consult with experts such as district architects.
  • Utilize walls for shelving (MacKenzie, 2014) when possible and try to have the rest of low shelving on casters to create flexible spaces.
  • Get creative when planning comfortable areas for reading, working and playing to learn.
  • Consult students and discover their desires for a learning commons. Hook student interest with an authentic problem solving project (MacKenzie, 2012) about the learning commons.
  • Visit a learning commons or explore virtually. (Ontario School Library Association, 2014)
  • Write grants (Domeier de Suarez, 2012) for funding for special purchases. Innovative learning designs (T.E. Scott Learning Commons, 2013)
  • Invest in robust wireless to support e-readers, tablets and other mobile devices.
  • Clean out underused seminar rooms and establish stations for specialized work e.g. video production, drama, makerspaces.
  • Consider educational design theory e.g. The third teacher. (OWP/P Architects, VS Furniture and Bruce Mau Design, 2010)
  • Provide for quiet study as well as collaborative work.
  • Consider a moveable wall to define a specific work area.
  • Ensure that teaching areas are well equipped with portable technologies.
  • Remove signage that is not user friendly and replace with invitation messages.
  • Investigate accessibility standards and policy to ensure compliance.
  • Invite participation!