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Collaborative Learning Through Creative Space Design

Open floor plans are the hot trend in office and academic buildings. This growing style of architecture is designed to encourage innovation and teamwork by breaking down traditional barriers and putting people face-to-face. The University of Chicago’s Mansueto Library with its soaring glass dome is a perfect example of a modern academic space intentionally designed to encourage collaboration. Open sightlines and a blend of natural materials create an environment that invites students to interact and work together.

The adoption of this concept by large research universities and glamourous tech giants like Google has helped fuel the movement to change the way we work. But, an open floor plan has its drawbacks.

For example, how can a university foster a modern live/work/play educational environment that simultaneously fuels innovation through communication, while incorporating “quiet areas” that allow students to work individually? The solution is a flexible design that allows for a space to shift as its occupants’ needs change. Collaboration pods are the new tool that many campuses are using to improve upon the open floor plan.

Many universities already have dedicated quiet areas within large open spaces. Collaboration pods take this concept one step further, providing students with a welcoming, comfortable place to work together. In the future, these pods will incorporate power outlets and smart technology to meet the needs of connected students.

Collaborative Spaces Promote Sought-After Skills

Colleges and universities now offering collaborative classrooms are getting a head start on a trend that is sure to continue throughout higher education, since these spaces promote the very skills employers say they want in new hires, such as a love of learning, preferences for collaboration, and comfort with technology. Some colleges and universities are designing these spaces as core components of their new buildings, while others are remodeling existing classrooms to make them better suited for the next generation of teaching and learning.

In New York State, Onondaga Community College recently opened the WhiTn3y Commons, a space that encourages business students to work in teams and practice the skills they’ll need for the 21st century workplace. MIT offers a wide variety of technology-enabled learning spaces to meet the demands of students and faculty across all disciplines. Today’s university common areas are more than communal spaces – they are design showcases.

The competition for academic talent has been an instrumental part of the nationwide push for beautiful, functional, and engaging architecture that integrates cutting-edge tools.

In 2016, SUNY Stony Brook installed eye-catching writable surfaces called glassboards in the Mendelsohn Quad, developed by Henry Joseph and Keith Bradley. Clarus Glassboards extend writable surfaces beyond the classroom, and their superior aesthetics (including logos and branding), easy cleaning, and anti-microbial properties are equally at home anywhere on the university campus.

Now, Clarus go! Mobile offers the perfect combination of a beautiful writing surface and portability. Companies like Amazon are utilizing these innovative solutions to meet the needs of open work environments. Clarus go! Mobile provides a moveable writeable surface for every environment that looks fresh after each use.

Clarus Offers Collaboration Tools for Today and Tomorrow

Who knows what the future will bring? Mobile whiteboards with an acoustic surface to help buffer sound in open environments? Glass table tops for collaboration? Concealed hardware float boards within collaboration pods? As the world changes, Clarus is sure to change with it, offering cutting-edge solutions.

Today’s students value collaboration, and successful educational institutions will do everything they can to shape environments that foster enhanced communication and productivity. To learn more about solutions from Clarus that can help make your learning or work environment more collaborative, visit ClarusGlassboards.com today!