Letter from the Editor

DesignShare is a forum for discussing designs for students, but we don’t often get the opportunity to feature designs by students... unless of course you consider the fact that we all like to think of ourselves as life-long learners. This month, I wanted to focus on some of the world’s most creative designers, from sixth graders in rural Massachusetts to university students working in remote areas of Uganda.

Soren Kierkegaard said, “Instruction begins when you, the teacher, learn from the learner; put yourself in his place so that you may understand . . . what he learns and the way he understands it.” In this issue, you’ll see how one team of architects did just this in Denmark (see Ordrup School case study). Renowned educational consultant Ron Berger also takes inspiration and advice from his middle school students, and travels the country making sure other professionals gain from the portfolio of work too.

Designers, teachers, headmasters. If you’re in need of some inspiration these days, you might just try looking to your students, sons or daughters for a boost of creative juice!


Clare Vogel, Editor

On Tap

Are You Smarter Than a Sixth Grader?
In December, we featured a book review of Ron Berger’s book “An Ethic of Excellence,” in which he frequently impresses clients and teachers around the world with his portfolio of student work. One such project was embedded within a Learning Expedition - a deep thematic, interdisciplinary study - centered on Architecture. The bedroom rendering below was done by a sixth grade student. Click here to read more and see other, enlarged student work.

“Fantasy Bedroom” by Joey Greenspan

Case Study: Danish School That Thinks About Thinking: Ordrup School, Gentofte, Denmark
At Ordrup School in Gentofte, north of Copenhagen, Denmark, the design team of Bosch & Fjord abandoned the idea of traditional school interiors and instead created a variety of spaces for differentiated teaching and creative thinking. Read more...

Video: Academics Meets Architecture: Applying Math Skills to a Real-World Problem
At Mountlake Terrace High School, near Seattle, Washington, students in Eeva Reeder’s geometry classes worked feverishly to complete an architectural challenge: Design a 2,000-student high school to meet learning needs in 2050, fitting it on a given site. Reeder continues to consult nationally about project learning. Read more...
We need to teach our kids skills, not subjects!
Cozy up with Randy Fielding for this 24-minute interview with Phorecast’s Christina Jeurling about innovative school design.Listen to the podcast...

One Corner of the World

Schools Lead
A multitude of schools are at the forefront of devising low cost innovations around the world, these are only a few of the examples of initiatives and projects underway. Read more...


Federal Stimulus Funding for School Modernization, Renovation, and Repair
See The National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities new webpage for the latest information on the Federal Funding Stimulus for School Facilities.

Design Loves a Depression
Design tends to thrive in hard times. Will today’s designers rise to the occasion? Designers do well working within constraints, working with what they have. This might be the time when designers can really do their job, and do it in a humanistic spirit. Read more...

Shelter for the Displaced
A senior in the industrial design program at Purdue University designed the Uber Shelter for his undergraduate thesis project. In this computer-generated design, which was a finalist at the 2008 International Design Excellence Awards for students, he focuses on fixing some of the problems that have plagued large refugee camps. Read more...


Teaching the Digital Generation: No More Cookie-Cutter High Schools by Frank S. Kelly, Ted McCain, and Ian Jukes

Teaching the Digital Generation examines how educators can address the learning needs of secondary students immersed in a digital world by designing and implementing new instructional models and technology infrastructure. The authors explore ten alternative high school models that address 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and digital literacy, and pose five critical considerations:
  • What should instruction and learning look like in a 21st-century school?
  • How can technology foster this kind of learning?
  • What non-instructional components are required?
  • How can time be used differently to support our vision?
  • How can new facility design turn this vision into reality?
Incorporating issues of facility design with curriculum and instructional planning, the authors offer educational leaders a new vision for schools.

Event Calendar

7th Annual High Performance School Symposium (Tampa)
February 6 - 7, 2009

National Association of Independent Schools Annual Conference (Chicago)
February 25 - 27, 2009
The NAIS Annual Conference is the largest gathering of independent school leaders, administrators, and teachers. The conference provides for attendees opportunities for invaluable personal and professional networking, and for the attainment of practical skills and tools. In addition, it strives to be an event that spurs forward-thinking dialogue about the future that faces independent schools.

"The World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development – Moving into the Second Half of the UN Decade" (Germany)
March 31 – April 2, 2009
The conference will review what has been achieved during the first half of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and will look ahead to strategies that further promote awareness and progress in this field. Special emphasis will be placed on enhancing North-South and South-South dialogue and cooperation. The conference is organized by UNESCO and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, in cooperation with the German Commission for UNESCO.

2009 School Building Expo (Pittsburgh)
June 2 - 4, 2009
If you're planning new schools, designing a new school, or renovating a school... If you're an architect designing schools and colleges, if you're a campus planner, a university architect, or you're an educational facilities planner... If you're building new schools, if you're building a college building, if you're building a university campus... If you're a member of AIA Committee on Architecture for Education, if you're an educational facilities planner or your direct capital projects for a school or college, if you're in school construction orcollege construction... If you're a member of CEFPI and interested in educational facilities planning... If If you want to know more about Green Schools, solar power in schools, or LEED for Schools, then School Building Expo is for you.

September 27 - 29, 2009
6-Degrees of Connection

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