Empowering Students with Special Needs through Flexible Learning Environments

Speakers:

Julie Jilek
Northwest Suburban Special Education Organization

Brian Weems
Timber Ridge School

Doug Liszka
Steelcase Education

Steve Slifka

AIA LU:

1 Learning Units (LU)

How applies to HSW:
Abstract:

The Northwest Suburban Special Education Organization (NSSEO) embarked on a vision to redesign learning environments that both accommodate the unique needs of students with special needs and inspire students to attain the knowledge and skills that the 21st Century demands. As a part of this journey, a grant assisted NSSEO in realizing this vision. The grant also supported NSSEO in collecting data and measure the impact of flexible learning environments on student engagement, social-emotional regulation, and positive interaction with peers.   This session will highlight our process, outcomes, and the positive impacts of flexible learning environments on students with special needs. NSSEO will share with participants its research approach, implementation, outcomes, along with strategies and tips on how to successfully transition classroom space from passive, teacher-centered learning environments to active, student-centered learning environments.

Learning Objectives:
  • Participants will gain an understanding of the positive impacts of flexible learning environments on students with special needs.
  • Participants will expand their knowledge of useful strategies and tips to use in transitioning classroom space into flexible learning environments with a focus on 21st Century learning, integration of technology, accessibility, safety and security.
  • Participants will learn how flexible learning environments can lead to a shift from teacher-centered to student-centered learning environments enabling students becoming more active learners.
  • Participants will learn how flexible learning environments led to an increase in on-task behavior, a decrease in disruptive behavior, an increase in social-emotional regulation, and an increase in positive interactions with peers.
Primary Competency:

Educational Visioning: Exhibits an understanding of best and next practices related to educational leadership, programming, teaching, learning, planning and facility design. Establishes credibility with educators, community members and design professionals while conceiving and leading a community-based visioning process. Demonstrates the ability to articulate the impact of learning environments on teaching and learning and uses that ability to facilitate a dialogue that uncovers the unique needs and long-range goals of an educational institution and its stakeholders – translating that into an actionable written/graphic program of requirements for the design practitioner.

Primary Domain:

Process: Content of this session/workshop will focus on the importance of quality processes and practices implemented by the project team when creating learning environments. The who, what, when and how of various disciplines and applications.

Secondary Domain:

Toolbox: Content of this session/workshop will focus on the approaches, methods and applications when transitioning from design and concept into reality, actual existence through quality performance, execution and/or product.