Community as the Classroom: Transforming Schools for the Innovative Society

Room: D139-140

Audience: Architects

Call to Action: 

  1. Engage Stakeholders: Reach out to community members, local organizations, and businesses to explore collaboration opportunities. Invite them to participate in educational vision activities by fostering partnerships, you can tap into a wealth of resources and expertise that enriches the learning experience for students.
  2. Redesign Learning Spaces: Evaluate your school's physical environment and consider how it can be reimagined to facilitate community engagement and interdisciplinary learning. As part of the visioning planning process, create flexible spaces that encourage collaboration, creativity, and interaction with the surrounding community. Whether it’s establishing outdoor classrooms, setting up maker spaces, or transforming unused areas into community hubs, redesigning learning spaces can have a profound impact on the educational experience.
  3. Empower Student Agency: Empower students to take an active role in shaping their learning journey and contributing to the community. Encourage them to pursue passion projects, initiate community service initiatives, or participate in real-world problem-solving activities. By fostering a sense of agency and responsibility, students develop essential life skills such as collaboration, empathy, and adaptability, preparing them to thrive in an innovative society.

Abstract: In the pursuit of nurturing learning innovation to respond to the dynamic society amplified by AI, the traditional role of schools within a community is force to adapt to this new reality. This session explores the concept of “community as the classroom,” advocating for a paradigm shift in educational practices. By embracing the community as an integral part of the learning environment, schools can tap into diverse resources, expertise, and perspectives. This transformative approach not only enriches academic learning but also redefine the school design cultivating a new system culture developing life skills, including collaboration, empathy, and adaptability. Through case studies project called “Intr’Appreneur: Tomorrow Education’s Today”. This research project highlights how school design transformation the learning culture while benefiting the community-engaged education and its potential to empower students as active contributors to an innovative society.

Learning Objectives:

  1. By delving into the concept of “community as the classroom,” this session aims to equip participants with a comprehensive understanding of how educational institutions can adapt to the ever-changing societal landscape influenced by AI.
  2. Through exploring innovative approaches to education, attendees will learn practical strategies for leveraging community resources, expertise, and perspectives to enrich academic learning while nurturing essential life skills like collaboration, empathy, and adaptability.
  3. Through the analysis of real-world case studies from the “Intr’Appreneur: Tomorrow Education’s Today” project, participants will gain valuable insights into the transformative potential of reimagining school design and fostering a culture of innovation, thereby empowering students to actively contribute to an evolving society.
Dr. Mario Chiasson
Dr. Mario Chiasson
Director of Research, Innovation & Change Management, District scolaire francophone Sud

Dr. Chiasson is a distinguished figure world renowned for his insightful contributions to learning innovation. With over 25 years of dedicated experience in the education sector, Mario has been instrumental in guiding numerous organizations and institutions, including schools, districts, ministries, colleges, universities, businesses, and communities to navigating through disruptive change, fostering innovation capabilities, and driving continuous improvement. Mario’s impact extends beyond theoretical frameworks, as he actively engages in Leadership and system transformation with the demands of an innovative society. As an associate researcher at the Université de Moncton in New Brunswick, Canada, Mario leads a groundbreaking longitudinal research project, “Intr’Appreneur: Tomorrow's Education Today.”

David Despres
David Despres
Director of Finance and Operation, District scolaire francophone Sud

Director of Finance and Administration at District scolaire francophone Sud, David has been in this role since April 2016. They manage a budget of $240 million, oversee staff in facilities, transportation, and finance, and analyze infrastructure needs to develop long-term planning. Our Director also ensures safety through emergency preparedness planning, advises the District Education Council on administrative and financial matters, and continuously improves administrative processes. Previously, they were the Director of Human Resources for 15 years, managing labor relations with five unions and identifying staffing needs, among other responsibilities. They hold a Master's degree in Public Administration from the Université de Moncton.

Francois Godin
Francois Godin
Educational Facilities and Pupil Transportation, New Brunswick Education and Early Childhood Development

As director of Educational Facilities and Pupil Transportation since 2022, Francois Godin has played many role in the sector of finance, facilities and transportation for the province of New-Brunswick.

Core 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.

LearningSCAPES 2024 Conference in Portland, Oregon


Oregon Convention Center
777 NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, Portland, OR 97232


October 16-19, 2024


+1 480.391.0840