Special Issue, Open House International OHI
Shaping the Future of Learning Environments:
Emerging Paradigms and Best Practices
Publishing Date: March 2009, Vol 34, Issue 1
Ashraf M. Salama, Ph.D.
Whether in school buildings or university campuses the educational process involves many activities that include knowledge acquisition and assimilation, testing students’ motivation and academic performance, and faculty and teachers’ productivity. The way in which we approach the planning, design, and our overall perception of learning environments makes powerful statements about how we view education; how educational buildings are designed tells us much about how teaching and learning activities occur. Concomitantly, how these activities are accommodated in a responsive educational environment is a critical issue that deserves special attention. While it was said a number of decades ago that a good teacher can teach anywhere, a growing body of literature derived from research suggests a direct correlation between the physical aspects of the learning environment, teaching processes, and learning outcomes.
Current views on planning and designing learning environments place emphasis on the development of standards and specifications that address what needs to be considered in a school building, but rarely address why and how! In essence, they address the final product—the learning environment itself— without giving enough attention to the process that leads to a good product. Design practices on the other hand do not address pedagogical objectives, teaching methods, or the needs of learners in a clear manner. Behavioral issues such as privacy, personal space, small group behavior, crowding and density are typically oversimplified. Therefore, it is paramount to examine a number of critical issues in school planning and design that foster the creation of learning environments conducive to learning. Duke’s statement—a prominent contemporary educator—corresponds with this argument. He states and rightly so “to build or rebuild our schools without thinking the experiences that take place in them seems unwise. These experiences create opportunities to re-design both schools and schooling"
This issue of OHI explores qualities and characteristics of learning environments in both developed and developing contexts ranging from the micro, to meso and macro levels, from classroom typologies to campus outdoor spaces. It places emphasis on emerging paradigms in learning environments that involve a number of underlying issues including the academic house clustering, the school as heart of the community, the rising interest in new classroom spaces and forms, the users centered processes, and utilizing the learning environment as an open textbook. While some papers will place emphasis on how these concepts are articulated in specific cases, others may cover best process practices of planning and designing learning environments, or explore the impact of the physical aspects of the learning environment on academic achievement, students' behavior, and faculty and teachers' productivity.
Key Dates & Deadlines
Call for papers, October 2007
Expression of Interest, November/December 2007
Receiving extended abstracts (1000 words), January 30, 2008
Notification of abstract acceptance, March 1 2008
Receiving full papers, June 15 2008
Communicating reviewers comments, July – August 2008
Receiving full papers after reviews, Nov 30, 2008
Publishing date, March 2009
Interested academics and practitioners are to contact Dr. Ashraf M. Salama, guest editor of this edition of Open House International
The Chief Editor of OHI is Prof. Nicholas Wilkinson. Open House International-OHI is covered by the Thomoson ISI products, the Social Science Citation Index,(SSCI,) the Arts & Humanities Citation Index, (A&HCI), Social Scisearch, Current Contents/Social & Behavioral Sciences,(CC/S&BS) and the Current Contents/Arts & Humanities, (CC/A&H) and Journal Citation Reports/Social Sciences Edition. The Journal is also listed on the following Architectural Index Lists: RIBA Index, API, ARCLIB, Avery Index and the Ekistics Index of Periodicals. OHI is online for subscribers at http://www.openhouse-int.com/