Facility Planning: Wise Workout

Students need both physical exercise and brain workouts. Paul Erickson explains how the design of your educational facilities can support both of these activities in the latest issue of American School & University.

For student learners to achieve complete development, it’s essential they have access to facilities that support exercise –physical activity and skill development. The next several columns will focus on designing educational facilities that exercise both the brain and the body.

We typically think of exercise in terms of cardio fitness, free weights and sports. We exercise to build muscle and stamina, to maintain or improve our body’s vital indicators (blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose level, etc.), and to remain healthy (preventing obesity, diabetes, and other conditions). For young and old alike, physical exercise makes one feel stronger, healthier and more mentally alert. As a result of these benefits, we expect to live longer, remain healthier as we age, enjoy our families, and make a long-lasting impact on our society.

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January 1, 2016, American School & University, By Paul Erickson

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Facility Planning: Expanding Our Vision

Check out Paul Erickson’s latest column from AS&U about making a difference in education at home and abroad.

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December 1, 2015, American School & University, By Paul Erickson

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Facility Planning: The ‘Gulf of Reluctance’

Building a bridge to those isolated by the idea of change.

Architects and educational leaders should consider four (4) steps in their efforts to design truly innovative schools: i) being collaborative and building partnerships, ii) communicating continually, iii) creating opportunities to see, feel and touch innovation and iv) anticipating reluctance.

Our natural instinct, when faced with the prospect of change, is to be cautious, conservative and concerned. It’s a whole lot easier to cling to the past than it is to grab on to the future. Yet, that is exactly why we design 21st century school facilities that function in dramatically different ways than 20th century factory models.

To read the full article in AS&U’s Schoolhouse Beat, please click here.

June 1, 2015, American School & University, By Tom Tapper

Facility Planning: I Can’t Imagine

Have you ever shared a personal story that stretches the imagination of your listener, prompting responses like “Really? ” “I don’t believe you! ” or possibly “I can’t imagine!”

When educational leaders and school architects are designing a truly innovative school the response from the community, parents and even teachers may be similarly incredulous.

Expectations for student outcomes have changed. There is still the fundamental belief that students must master “the three Rs” – reading, writing and arithmetic; a belief that is grounded in state-mandated testing and the national push for a standardized curriculum known as Common Core. But that mandate may also be extended to incorporate essential skills of communication, collaboration, and creativity, in the form of small group learning, hands-on project-based learning, interactive/integrated technology and collaborative work groups.

April 01, 2015, American School & University, By Tom Tapper