It’s a word that can seem negative or positive depending on the context. In this newsletter, we find some examples of positive change in relation to educational spaces.

Furniture designers are creating new desk and seating concepts, and have come together to study ergonomics in Ireland. Students are challenged to change their world one project at a time. And at CUSP, change agency for education is presented in an innovative way.

Related Links:

DesignShare Website

Newsletter Archives

NBC: Education Nation

Buy: Education Nation


School & College Building Expo

The Language of School Design

KnowledgeWorks Foundation

Great Schools by Design

National Clearinghouse for Education

Have an idea for the next issue? 

Designers as Change Agents

Randall at CUSP

CUSP is a TED-style conference connecting innovative speakers with an audience of future-thinkers and designers. At the 2010 CUSP, sponsored by Herman Miller, Randall Fielding used his ipad to draw some design patterns live, to demonstrate one of the techniques he uses as a change agent for education. Fielding Nair International specializes in community involvement as they create innovative schools around the world, designed for 21st century learning.

Here’s an article with more information: Link

And here’s a video of Randall at CUSP: Link

The Dublin TFE Research and Design Project

TFE logo

The Task Furniture in Education Research and Design project has officially begun. Kelli Pearson and Jennifer Lamar of FNI joined their other partners in Dublin for the kick-off meetings, officiated by Mairead Mc Guinness who is an Irish politician and MEP (member of European Parliament).

The project is coordinated by Dr. Gearóid Ó Conchubhair, who is associated with the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. For many years he has wanted to explore this subject area of creating ergonomic furniture for students. With the backing of a Marie Curie Industry and Academia Partnership grant, project members are going to work closely together to create and develop design guidelines and prototypes with VS Furniture in Germany, BAG from Germany (ergonomic specialists), ESAD from Portugal (biomechanics academic partner), and Trinity College from Dublin (academic partner). This will be a four-year project. The first year will be spent doing data gathering and research. The second year will be focused on creating design guidelines based on best practices and findings. And the final two years will be spent creating and testing prototypes.

Here’s a video that introduces this interesting project: Link

Race to Nowhere Film Changes National Dialogue on Education

Race to Nowhere

From the producers: "Featuring the heartbreaking stories of young people across the country who have been pushed to the brink, educators who are burned out and worried that students aren’t developing the skills they need, and parents who are trying to do what’s best for their kids, Race to Nowhere points to the silent epidemic in our schools: cheating has become commonplace, students have become disengaged, stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant, and young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired."

"Race to Nowhere is a call to mobilize families, educators, and policy makers to challenge current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens. In a grassroots sensation already feeding a groundswell for change, hundreds of theaters, schools and organizations nationwide are hosting community screenings during a six-month campaign to screen the film nationwide. Tens of thousands of people are coming together, using the film as the centerpiece for raising awareness, radically changing the national dialogue on education and galvanizing change."

See this web site for more information: Link

Design for Change


DESIGN FOR CHANGE is a global movement designed to give young people an opportunity to express their own ideas for a better world and put them into action. Their student challenge – to solve design problems around the world.

Children and adults alike learn through the Design for Change Challenge that “I Can” are the two most powerful words a person can believe, and kids who have discovered this are changing their world.

With its inspirational roots at the Riverside School, Ahmedabad in India, the global movement has inspired hundreds of thousands of children, their teachers and parents, to celebrate the fact that they matter, that change is possible and that they can lead and inspire that change. Link to more information.

Changing the Way Students Sit


Since sitting is getting the rep for being “the new smoking,” this product addresses the problem of sitting in educational spaces. Opti+ combines a forward sloping chair with unique front contoured edge and a patented desk with integrated footrest, which increases adjustability and comfort.

“Today’s educational environment is shifting away from the traditional approaches of sitting in rows, facing forward and listening to lectures to a more dynamic and collaborative social environment. Now students are expected to work in groups, express their ideas and thoughts and learn alongside the instructor. This changing paradigm creates new demands upon the furniture within the classroom. Increased mobility, adjustability and durability are at the forefront of these demands” says design team leader Johan Heyvaerts.

Details are on their web site: Link


Guidelines for Laboratory Design: Health and Safety Considerations
June 20-24, 2011, Boston, MA
The Harvard School of Public Health Center for Continuing Professional Education will offer Guidelines for Laboratory Design: Health and Safety Considerations June 20-25, 2011, in Boston, MA. The program focuses on designed laboratory for educational and research uses.

"This program offers you a multi-disciplinary perspective on health, safety, and energy conservation in laboratory design, ensuring better understanding of the needs of all team members as well as the goals and demands of the project itself."

More info here:

Constructing Modern Knowledge
Learning adventures for creative educators.
This event is back for a fourth consecutive year, July 11-14, 2011 in Manchester, NH. This year’s CMK 2011 promises to be bigger and better than ever before!

Guest speakers include Jonathan Kozol, Dr. Derrick Pitts & Dr. Lella Gandini. The Big Night Out in the City will begin with a reception at the world-famous M.I.T. Media Lab, hosted by Professor Mitchel Resnick.

Register today! The super early-bird registration makes the CMK bargain even more affordable.



Wiley has recently published four books for architects and designers of K-12 schools. All written by experts on the design of schools, together, these four books comprise the most comprehensive and up-to-date information on school design. Please visit to learn more about our books on the architectural design of schools.


Fielding Nair International designs school facilities for today and tomorrow with one primary goal in mind — to improve learning. With consultations in 29 countries on 5 continents, dozens of important publications, and numerous industry awards for excellence, FNI is the global leader for innovative school architecture. Underlying all the architectural design, planning and educational change management work they do is a strong belief in diversity, high performance, technology infusion, global connections and personalization. Web:


School & College Building Expo is the only event that truly brings together the evolving marketplace of educational institutions. Learn about sustainable and green trends, be inspired by exciting keynotes, and discover the latest products and solutions. Come together with the professionals who plan, design, construct, retrofit and manage public and private educational facilities. School & College Building Expo is host to the Spring Meeting of AIA’s Committee on Architecture for Education, a gathering of the most active thought leaders in educational design.


If you want to get word out to the school planning and design community, there is no better venue. DesignShare is the #1 address worldwide for innovative school facilities and designing for the future of learning. Today, the DesignShare web site gets nearly 2 million visits a year, and the e-newsletter reaches over 7,000 subscribers.

Query here: