A well designed learning environment can make a big difference. The photo below (taken with Pano for iPhone) is of the “studio” area of The Apple Store in Palo Alto, California. I love this “learning bar” design. This area is separate from the “Genius Bar” area where troubleshooting takes place. This is the best designed Apple Store “Studio” area I’ve seen to date. If I was redesigning or designing a school, I’d create some spaces that have a similar look, feel and atmosphere.

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  • Hi Wes,

    This post reminds me of an amazing article I read and critiqued for my doctorate. It’s called At the Core of the Apple Store: Images of Next Generation Learning. Here’s the link from Google Scholar to the PDF version http://www.bigpicture.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/the-apple-store_long_final_2-18-09.pdf It talks about how Apple sets up their stores and how it could directly correlate to education and the classroom. A MUST READ!

  • Pingback: Inviting lab space « Barbara Z. Johnson()

  • Wes, great, thoughtful post!

    John, great link. The paper provides even more to think about.

    I’ve just read the comments on Wes’s post about “Public Education is not failing, …”… not a very optimistic crowd there…. my head is spinning!

    What is the way forward?

  • Steve Wilmarth

    This past January, I had a chance to do a professional development workshop for a regional education service center in Connecticut. The focus of the day-long workshop was to help local leaders from across the range of educational services, better understand the meaning of “21st century learning.” So much ink has been spilled on the topic, yet when pressed, very few leaders at the school district level can actually describe what 21st century learning looks like.

    So, for our workshop, we put 12 RESC leaders in a van and headed off to a nearby Apple store. We spent the morning “observing” opportunities for learning, creativity, collaboration, and communication. 21st century learning is not about the brute force of standardized testing. Rather, it’s about the nuanced perceptions that stand out so clearly in an Apple store design.

    Keep up the great reporting, Wes!

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