Better or Worse?

Katie, Progress and Change

For all students at St. Robert, the reveal of the new media center marked a drastic change in the school. There are many new advantages in this media center, including technology, furniture, and vibrant colors. In response to these changes, mixed with opinions have been flying through the halls. The many thoughts on this remodel leave a question hanging in the air: Was this an improvement or not? As more people continue to learn and engage in the media center, they also continue to discover new aspects of the library, shaping their personal opinions.

Mrs. Beckmann, the school’s principal, decided to expanded on idea of collaborative work, pushing the school in a new direction in the media center space. Originally, the school tried to achieve this by getting rows of desktop computers to fill the library and offer whole class’ computer work spaces. Following the completion of this project years ago, her thought process changed and she saw that the media center needed some revising. Mrs. Beckmann had developed an interest for technology in schools, which she would contribute to her realization on how to better equip her own school with productive technology implementation. She regularly reads the Horizon Report for K12 education, which review where educational focus for about the next five years is headed. This report noted that education models are shifting from a hardware-focused to the user-focused, promoting unity of the whole environment. This came to inspire her to seek a more flexible work space in the media center filled with desktop computers.

After dreaming up the new idea, she decided to meet with someone that specializes in remodeling. The architect who designed the space previously was contacted to alter the room once more. She continued to put together the theory of collaborative educational spaces piece by piece, and eventually reached the final step: providing a new space to work in the media center. Between January 2016 and the start of the 2017 school year, the architect and principal got together and met about their visions. Her feelings about the space evolved as she picked out paint colors, furnishings, and more. Mrs. Beckmann was encouraged by coworkers and others to complete this venture.

The walls were lined with fresh paint to start a new process of learning proactively. The rows of desktops were replaced by just three desktops as the needs for these devices is minimal. The school has a full implementation of devices due to the Chromebook cart, iPad cart, and BYOD policy in the middle school. Movable whiteboards were added to the space in addition to new, flexible seating arrangements that support small group collaboration.

On the day of the unveiling, people lined up to see the room that everyone had been talking about all summer. In the end, Mrs. Beckmann was pleased with the way the space turned out and was amazed at the way her students have been using the area. She says, “I am proud of the way students received this gift, and they truly do deserve it.” It is an inspiring, fun, and usable space that will be beneficial for years to come.

For one to succeed in a workplace like this, they simply need to focus on the four skill C’s: Creativity, Communication, Collaboration, and Critical Thinking. This was expanded upon by the new space and will continue to help individuals grow TOGETHER.

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