The traditional classroom set-up often remains untouched, usually in dire need of a major makeover. There are no doubts that the closed, walled-in environment, with its lined-up chairs and tables, has proven to be an effective space for learning and teaching over the years. However, as our education has evolved from the standard classroom lecture to more application-based teaching methods, the walls are thinning, and the potential to discover solutions to problems lie outside hall’s four corners.
For these institutions, innovation begins at the very rooms they are in.
De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde’s The Loop
When Benilde’s beloved Student’s Lounge in the School of Design and Arts (SDA) building was closed for renovations, a significant amount of students were concerned with the future of their once hangout place, as it has become the go-to venue for many to wind down after class or to hold group project meetings. Despite their initial disappointment, they did not foresee, however, what replaced it.
We see our students go out of the campus […] and it was Brother Dennis Magbanua FSC who thought, ‘Why don’t we just build one [student lounge] right here in Benilde?’
In collaboration with Power Mac Center comes the first of its kind: The Loop, Student Lounge. “We see our students go out of the campus to meet up for group projects or hang out with their friends, and it was Brother Dennis Magbanua, FSC who thought, ‘Why don’t we just build one [student lounge] right here in Benilde?’” said Aldrin Lunod, Head of Media Relations. The re-purposed area offers a new space for students and faculty members alike to relax and meet informally as well as hold interactive workshops and events. The Loop also serves as an extended store of Apple products where students can easily try and buy on the go.
MINT College’s Classrooms
The first thing that comes to mind when one hears of MINT College is the well-known fact that every freshman gets a free iPad upon enrollment. While appealing to any potential student, the real star of the show is the way their facilities are designed. The college always had a “dare to be different” vibe in terms of its interior design and furniture choices that of which manifest themselves on its five classrooms: Menthol, Spearmint, Peppermint, Lemon Mint and Indigo.
For starters, they do not have blackboards, they use glass panels and a huge LCD display for teaching. The classrooms are designed to be open and collaborative, with round tables instead of the usual square or rectangle table setup. They even have a dedicated bean bag room to truly make learning a fun and relaxing experience.
Miriam College’s Henry Sy. Sr. Innovation Center
The concept of an innovation space is still unheard of in this country. Yet out of nowhere, Miriam College unveiled its Innovation Center last year, bringing a new era of fresh, new ways for students to learn and create. Considered as the country’s first integrated makerspace, the center allows for solution-finding through the use of different tools made available in the space’s different laboratories.
The new center complements the school’s S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Education, Arts and Math) program, and now upgrades it to what they call the D.R.E.A.M. (Design, Robotics, Engineering and Entrepreneurship, Arts and Mathematics) program. “We don’t want girls to think that they can just conform to the stereotypical roles of society. Miriam has a café where we can teach them how to cook. We have an engineering lab where we can teach them how to build. They don’t have to be homemakers or dancers, they can be inventors, scientists, mathematicians, or engineers,” shares Sofia de Guzman, a grade 11 teacher on Basic Education. This makerspace encourages students to find solutions to the problems they face in unique ways; from conducting experiments, to kick starting product designs through advanced technology like 3D printing.
We don’t want girls to think that they can just conform to the stereotypical roles of society.
The good ol’ classroom will still be around for a long time, that’s true. The system is not broken. As the saying goes, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, if any student out there wishes for a change in pace, then these innovative spaces are what can lead the pack in a trend of out-of-the-box learning experiences.