Flexible Learning Spaces Introduced at Gwyn-Nor

Innovative Flexible Learning Spaces at Gwyn-Nor Elementary School Recognized in Dedication Ceremony
Posted on 09/09/2019
Photo of students and staff

As the North Penn School District (NPSD) continues to move in the direction of personalized learning pathways to support student learning, Gwyn-Nor Elementary School recently celebrated the dedication of its newly created flexible learning spaces. Dignitaries including NPSD administrators, school board members and Gwyn-Nor Home and School Association officers visited each new learning space and had a chance to experience its benefits first-hand alongside students and staff at Gwyn-Nor.

Spearheaded by principal Dr. Deborah McKay, the goal of Gwyn Nor’s flexible learning spaces is to encourage collaboration, digital literacy, critical thinking and problem-solving that many believe schools need to teach to help students thrive in today's world.

According to Dr. McKay, traditional learning environments have centered mainly on places and spaces, but today’s classrooms look very different from those of the past. Students don’t necessarily sit in rows of desks; teachers are as often working alongside students as lecturing in front of them. “Learning environments today need to embrace the variety of places, ideas, and people that the modern world demands and reflect a flexibility of space, time, people, and technology,” McKay explained.

“Physical learning environments need to promote multiple modes of students learning, supporting both individual and group work, providing space for presentation and exploration, promoting interaction and a sense of community, and fostering both formal and informal learning,” McKay continued. “That is our hope with our learning centers… that we are positioning our students for powerful learning, expanding our notion of learning environments to encompass more than physical space allows us to provide students with more opportunities for meaningful learning.”

There are three common areas (flexible learning spaces) throughout the building at Gwyn-Nor that teachers are encouraged to sign-up for and to utilize to support 21st century student learning. These skills include, but not are not limited to, the development of critical thinking skills, teamwork, collaboration, creativity, flexibility and problem solving.

Each flexible learning space is equipped with flexible furniture, two Lego boards, five large boxes of Legos and a white board. Since these spaces are flexible, teachers are able to move this furniture into any formation to support the learning goals.

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