We’re delighted to deliver you the latest edition of our quarterly education industry newsletter! As Southeastern Wisconsin’s exclusive Steelcase dealer, Forrer has access to some of the industry’s best insight-led research and innovation in furniture, tools and technologies for active learning spaces. We strive to provide thought-provoking articles, research, news and ideas to help you create dynamic learning environments! Enjoy!

How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses

A new breed of educators, inspired by everything from the Internet to evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, and AI, are inventing radical new ways for children to learn, grow, and thrive. To them, knowledge isn’t a commodity that’s delivered from teacher to student but something that emerges from the students’ own curiosity-fueled exploration. Teachers provide prompts, not answers, and then they step aside so students can teach themselves and one another. They are creating ways for children to discover their passion—and uncovering a generation of geniuses in the process.

Read the article from Wired.com


Designing with Purpose: Classroom Technology

Research shows that the more active and involved the student, the better the outcome. And its clear classroom technology plays a substantial role in student engagement.  Unfortunately, the nexus of classroom design, pedagogy and technology has been largely underemphasized – a power combination positively impacting active learning and student success.

New data from a Steelcase Education Solutions highlights the benefits gained from classrooms intentionally designed.

See the full article in EdTechDigest penned by Steelcase researcher Aileen Strickland, with nine compelling considerations to keep in mind when integrating technology into the classrooms of the 21st century.


The Edible Schoolyard Project

Food is often at the heart of the exaggerated idealism of childhood, and it plays a starring role in the new building and gardens at P.S. 216 in Gravesend, Brooklyn, by New York’s Work Architecture Company (WORKac). While the building is a relatively simple structure, designed to house a horticulture and culinary arts classroom, the architecture brings the program alive, making this more than your average shed.

At P.S. 216, students will attend the new classroom much like they would take a physical education or music class in a special facility. The project contains a full kitchen, where up to 32 students learn to make what they eat, using produce they have grown in the attached greenhouse and half-acre outdoor garden.

Read the article from Metropolis.


Application Ideas for Your Classroom

Learning is at a disadvantage when spaces are one-way, cramped and static – think rows of desks and chairs inhibiting movement and interaction, professors stuck in the center of the room. Today, students bring new tools, experiences and expectations to school. To keep pace, the classroom must change.

In an active learning classroom every seat is the best seat! These smart spaces morph from lecture mode to teamwork to discussion and back again, empowering students, faculty and the learning experience in full.

When solutions are dynamic and flexible, supportive of technology, movement and variety, everyone benefits.

The Node chair from Steelcase is designed for quick and easy transitions from one mode of teaching to the next. With built-in storage in the base, personal worksurface, swivel seat and casters, Node makes maximum use of every square foot of classroom space.

Interested in the many modes of learning? See this great Node animation video. Rotating chairs illustrate how it works in different configurations, highlighting Node’s uncommon utility and versatility as it transitions to support active learning.


Learning Spaces Anthology Edited by Steelcase Education Solutions Director

Participants in the Learning in Higher Education Symposium, coming from all parts of the globe, visited Steelcase earlier this month to collaborate, network and work on an anthology titled Learning Spaces in Higher Education. Lennie Scott-Webber, PhD, and Aileen Strickland, both of Steelcase, will contribute chapters. Dr. Scott-Webber has been named co-editor of the anthology, preparing for its international publication!

Steelcase was pleased to host this important group of education thought leaders – and to have the opportunity to share some of our work and insights in learning environments.

The anthology is sure to be an influential text exploring the conceptual, practical and theoretical aspects of learning spaces. As a double-blind, peer-reviewed publication, it will have great credibility across the education field.

Learn more at the Learning in Higher Education website.


Educause Conference 2013

Steelcase presented its case for inspired, active learning to a sea of industry peers and education customers through sleek and innovative designs at the annual Educause 2013 Conference in Anaheim, California this past October.  As the best thinking from higher education was shared and explored, visitors got a great taste for the new age of education.

Booth #410 displayed the power and potential that place has, showcasing truly smart solutions which foster engagement, collaboration and flexibility for classrooms of the 21st century and beyond. Key pieces included Node, classroom seating supporting the many modes of learning; media:scape, merging furniture and technology, this device allows you to walk up, connect your device and see and share content from across the table or across the world; the dynamic ēno which comprises an interactive whiteboard, dry erase boards and magnetic surface all in one; and Verb, an integrated collection of classroom furniture designed to support a full range of teaching and learning styles on demand.

Interested in how these product solutions can transform? Contact Forrer Business Interiors today.


Active Learning Case Study: Grand Valley State University Library Video

As the educational landscape evolves, every space on campus is being rethought and reorganized. A new case study video shows how active learning insights are applied to reimagine the library experience at Grand Valley State University. Watch this video for inspiration and ideas as you rethink informal learning spaces.

The Mary Pew Idema Library at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, embarked on a thoughtful and dynamic makeover recently.

“We wanted this to be a very different space, to feel different, to look different, so that students could act differently,” says Lee Van Orsdel, Dean of University Libraries at Grand Valley State University.

“We worked with Steelcase to be sure we understood student behaviors as well as we could.” The team watched students’ habits, how they use space and the postures they exercise to inform the new design.

“What we discovered in the process of doing this is that there was a rhythm to the students’ life that was unknown to us at its fullest. We began to identify a range of student behaviors… On one end of the spectrum, we created almost monk-like cells and at the other end of the spectrum, we elevated the concept of noise to an art,” she said.

Orsdel credits the solutions and vision of Steelcase with this transformation, and says, without this collaboration, “we could not have elevated this environment into something new.”

See the impressive active learning space in this latest case study video.

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