The 3rd Teacher: Creative Learning Spaces

Grant Name:  The 3rd Teacher:  Creative Learning Spaces
Funded by:  Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation
Awarded:  September, 2012
Amount:  $230,000

This grant provides funding to design eight highly innovative, creative and architecturally re-designed learning spaces.

The strength of this project originates with the extensive network of innovative and highly creative partners and consultants and the strong research component that will parallel the implementation of the design.  The research design will be constructed as part of the initial meeting and research project.

Consultants and Personnel Directly Involved in the Grant Project:

  • Carnegie Mellon CREATE LAB
  • Pittsburgh Children’s Museum
  • Children’s Museum of the Ohio Valley (CMOV) in Wheeling
  • Children’s Innovation Zone
  • Shady Lane Preschool
  • Educators at Intermediate Unit One
  • Faculty and Staff at Marshall University’s Harless Center
  • Faculty and Staff from West Liberty’s Center for Arts and Education, College of Education,  College of Arts and Communication, and College of Science

These creative partners and consultants will meet in various configuration and formats over the year to review research, discuss best practices, present to one another, provide information and support, attend professional development, and, ultimately, design eight highly innovative learning spaces for environments in higher education, primary education, middle school, high school, and a children’s museum.

Part of the “Design Team” will include students in preservice teacher education from the Harless Center and West Liberty University’s College of Education and College of Science.  Using course connected problem-based learning units, pre-service teachers will be challenged to assist in the creative design process drawing upon research and personal innovation.  The schools in which these flexible learning environments are created are natural “laboratory school environments.”

Throughout the Spring semester of 2013, the innovative learning spaces will be fine-tuned, designed to scale, and built and supporting funding from other sources is secured.   Additionally, the incorporation of maker-faire and do-it-yourself stations will be incorporated into the designs.   The research and information will also be used to inform the creation of a new major in community education for West Liberty University.

The collection of research will be implemented in furnished classrooms (once all funding is established) using a strong pre/post or control/experimental design.  Research will be collected, aggregated and analyzed by the lead researcher and shared with the entire group.