Today three of our TOK students stopped by to chat with me about their reflections on last week’s discussion activity anchored by written conversations around our dry erase/markerboard surface tables.  In this thirteen and half minute video interview, they share their thoughts on the ways the markerboard surfaces elevated and created a  more participatory medium for learning that they felt would probably  have not happened in a traditional classroom or library setting.  In the first third of the interview,  they discuss the ways the dry erase/markerboard tables helped them to focus their thoughts so that they could then develop deeper oral discussions with the group; embedded in their reflections is the notion of writing as a process that helps stimulate their cognition.  They also touch on the ways that the dry erase surfaces helped them to build conversations and thinking that were organic, sustained, and more nuanced.   I’m fascinated to further explore the ways these kinds of surfaces might help students grow their ability to contribute to their learning community through discussion, an important form of academic capital.   They also share their insights on library and learning space design, low tech vs. high tech learning experiences, and the importance of choices/”structured openness” in learning experiences.    I hope you will take time to listen to their thoughtful and insightful ideas!  Many thanks to these three students for so generously sharing their thinking with us and giving us permission to share it with all of you.

4 thoughts on “NHS Students Reflect on Learning Spaces and Design, Libraries, and Academic Capital

  1. The three of us in our library wondered how long these table surfaces survive the constant writing and erasing and how do folks keep from getting marker dust all over them as they move around and maybe rubbing off some comments??!!
    They look very cool!


    1. It’s hard to say right now since they are new, but so far, they erase cleanly and we’ve not had any problems with marker shavings. Maybe the height is critical to helping elbows stay off the table? We also clean the surfaces after use—we use an Expo brand dry erase cleaner solution that comes in a spray bottle and does a great job removing the marker off the tables. Our only complaint so far is that you can’t adjust the height quickly–you have to flip the tables and use an Allen wrench to adjust the height, ugh!


  2. We just turned our old computer lab, into a dynamic and flexible Learning Lab this past year. As I’ve been reflecting on the elements of the new space that seem to have been most transformative for learning, I keep coming back to the whiteboard space in the room! We tried to wrap as many of the walls in whiteboard and have 5 whiteboard flip tables. Learning looks different in there in large part because of the whiteboard tables. Many teachers have remarked that without even directing students to make their thinking visible on the tables, they do it instinctively. I knew it would be a good move to have whiteboard space, but had no idea just how transformative it would be!


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