Inside Learning: A participatory app for analysing school environments. Methodological challenges

Szynalska, Karolina (2017) Inside Learning: A participatory app for analysing school environments. Methodological challenges. In: Educational Architecture – Pasts, Presents and Futures, 27-29/09/2017, Aarhus University, Copenhagen.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Presentation)
Item Status:Live Archive


Our current knowledge of school building design in relation to its effects on learning is not well developed. This is due to the complex nature of the environments, lack of consensus about criteria for their pedagogical assessment, and attendant methodological challenges. Post-occupancy evaluations typically fail to assess whether the school estate can support a particular institution’s pedagogy and they don’t consider the views of their key constituency, i.e. students. Whilst there appears to be a strong link between effective engagement with users and the success of environmental change in having an impact on behaviour, well-being, and attainment, facilitating collective decision making is often prohibitively expensive.
This paper will introduce a bespoke tablet application designed to explore the relationship between the students’ engagement in learning and the spatial affordances in three recently completed state funded urban secondary schools in England. The contrasting case studies represent different approaches to pedagogically informed architecture and project-based collaborative learning; one inspired by historic and contemporary Danish primary school design trends, one with a unique teaching system similar to a university, and a “traditional” one.
The research tool employs the Experience Sampling Method. It collects photographs of the participants’ surroundings and information about their school related experience in situ – by sampling the participants’ thoughts, feelings or behaviours as they occur and in the environment within which they occur. It combines a focus on lived experience with an attempt to use the tools of empirical investigation. The procedure gathers both quantitative and qualitative data that allows (1) the assessment of the compatibility between the buildings and the pedagogies they host, (2) examining how particular spatial organisations might be congruent to collaborative and cooperative learning, and possibly (3) inspiring future design interventions.

Keywords:Experience Sampling Method, Schools, collaborative learning, school buildings
Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K190 Architecture not elsewhere classified
X Education > X990 Education not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
ID Code:33922
Deposited On:29 Oct 2018 13:21

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