Last month, members of our educational design team joined the Webster Central School District team for a tour and presentation of Google’s New York City offices. As Webster CSD prepares to begin a capital project, our design team has worked closely with their leadership in exploring topics of district culture, use of technology, and preparing students for new work environments. We were fortunate to be invited to visit one of the global leaders in innovation, workplace culture and educational leadership: Google.
Google For Education is a focused team within Google with a variety of resources for educators. Their Transformation Center is an online hub for school leadership, offering a dynamic forum for sharing ideas, templates, inspiration, case studies and links to more resources. It’s a great place for district leadership to learn from each other and avoid “reinventing the wheel” when it comes to implementing ideas. As designers specializing in design for K-12, the Transformation Center helps us explore evolving education principles that shape technology needs and guide the design of the built environment.
Of course, there’s no better place to see ideas in action than at Google itself. Google’s philosophy towards the work environment is focused on the Googler experience, health and well being of their team, and sustainability and environmental responsibility.
Perhaps the most striking takeaway from our tour and photographs is the sheer variety of spaces within the Google workspace. Google has identified four key space types throughout their facility: quiet focus, collaboration, learning/education and socialization. Dynamic environments that incorporate varying textures, colors, themes and lighting stimulate creativity and keep people engaged. The variety of collision spaces promote interaction and foster engagement with all employees.
There’s also a prevalence of cafés and kitchens throughout the office space. The free kitchens and cafés promote healthy food and beverage choices, and paired with exercise facilities and game rooms, promote health and well being. This ultimately leads to happier, healthier, and more productive Googlers.
These same principles can be applied to the education environment. We can look for opportunities to promote student-teacher interaction with flexible learning environments that stimulate creativity and innovation. Different spaces may be required for collaborative interaction, quiet work, and demonstrative teaching. Giving teachers the tools they need to customize their classrooms is a recurring theme that can drive classroom layout, finishes, and furniture. Our design team is committed to continuing our education about education. This fall, we’ll host Dr. Robert Dillon, author of The Space: A Guide for Educators and hear his experience putting these ideas into practice.
Want more education about design for education? Visit www.labellapc.com/schools-in-session for more content and learning opportunities.
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