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Design My School Project

Design My School Project Description

Click Here To Visit Designmyschool (you can log in to a demo account using the user name and password student1)

Designmyschool is a practical tool devised as a set of simple and engaging interactive questions to involve pupils in an honest assessment of their learning environment. It allows them to rate various aspects of the design of their school, and feedback information to their teacher and make constructive suggestions to support the quality of learning in the school.

How could your school use designmyschool?

How you choose to use designmyschool will depend on what your school (or groups within your school) wants to achieve. Designmyschool can be used by the whole school, individual classes or smaller groups, depending on the school's objectives in using it.

Who should use designmyschool?

designmyschool is intended for secondary pupils. There is no reason why other age groups should not be involved with support and some further explanation from teachers.

Students can work through the on-screen questions in pairs or small groups as this promotes discussion and engagement.

There are message boards about a range of subjects to help develop communication accross the country on key issues.

Why is designmyschool useful for pupils?

It encourages them to think about the circumstances in which they are able to learn best and to reflect upon their own learning styles It promotes involvement in their school. Evidence from research establishes the link between ownership and engagement in learning It enables them to develop genuine experience of community responsibility, a key component of citizenship education It provides potential curriculum links to design and technology, art and related subjects, and opportunities for subjects such as English, mathematics and science

Why is designmyschool useful for teachers and school leaders?

It opens up a dialogue between pupils and teachers about the obstacles to, and drivers of, effective learning, concentration and pupil well-being: the first step on a shared undertaking to improve the physical circumstances for high quality learning It represents a good way of listening to the pupil voice and promoting a sense of being valued, related to the development of school ethos; their views and ideas being important and taken into account in the future direction of their school It offers a useful tool for (and valuable evidence of) school self-evaluation, an important feature of effective schools, evaluating the impact of the learning environment on educational outcomes It reinforces the link between the learning environment and the quality of learning and teaching It is a practical way of involving pupils as stakeholders in the visioning process, a critical component of the Building Schools for the Future programme.

What can teachers and pupils do after ?

  • Discuss the results for the group and how these relate to results for the whole school
  • Discuss any additional issues or areas of the school's environment that the questionnaire has opened up and try to identify the key issues that the group feels are most important
  • Use the design-led process tool (downloadable in Inspiring Ideas (hotlink) to enable pupils to explore these issues in more depth
  • Once you have finished the interactive questionnaire, you can look at the case studies and review literature (provided as links in Inspiring Ideas (hotlink) to initiate a more rigorous debate with pupils
  • Set up a working group of pupils responsible for generating and implementing ideas to improve their learning environment; or encourage the school council to take on this role

Use it more than once, to track changes in perception over time Present the pupils' results to a staff meeting to stimulate a discussion about how best to establish the right conditions for effective learning

What is the Learning Environments Campaign?

Designmyschool has been developed by the Learning Environments Campaign at the Design Council in collaboration with Ultralab.

The Learning Environments Campaign is working with schools and others to demonstrate the potential of an inside out approach in practice, by bringing innovation into the classroom so that learning environments help teachers to help students realise their potential.

Education is vital to the success of 21st century Britain, but despite the arrival of whiteboards and PCs, school learning environments are essentially stuck in the past. Design Council research shows that outmoded, inflexible learning environments and resources can lead to poor concentration and low morale among students, while teachers' ability to encourage creativity is stifled. Inevitably, results suffer.

The Campaign aims to:

Work with teachers, students and other stakeholders to design and evaluate innovative and effective learning environments and the systems that will support them Develop practical tools to inspire and support schools more widely to identify and tackle their own issues by following a user-led design process Understand the underlying stystemic factors that inhibit innovation in school learning environments and work in partnership to develop practical initiatives and policy recommendations to address them Campaign for an inside out approach to school design To use the online questionnaire click here to register, to get more information about the Campaign's work, please view our prospectus (a pdf) or visit www.designcouncil.org.uk.

The campaign's work is funded by the Design Council and the DfES

"Active participation in more democratic school communities...is associated with higher attainment and lower exclusion." (Derry Hannam, Phoenix Education Trust)


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