Generation Alpha, who currently range in age from 12 to infant, are being raised with technology as an ingrained part of their childhoods. They are the first generation to be fully born in the 21st Century and will be the first to decidedly live in the 22nd. Many design tactics specific to fostering success for Generation Alpha can be employed. Understanding how they learn and the ever-changing needs of students, educators, and classrooms as technology advances will help educators and designers work together to support these students. Hord Coplan Macht’s K-12 studio leader, Adele Willson and Education Design Expert, Kara Aylesworth will discuss the keys to designing successful learning spaces for Generation Alpha. In this presentation, HCM will share case studies of a variety of learning spaces they have designed, and how flexibility and biophilic elements benefitted the end users. They will discuss insights from educators on how these spaces respond to the developmental needs and well-being of these young learners. Case studies of ECE Centers and Elementary Schools will be presented along with post-occupancy feedback from Administrators and Teachers, including Alissa Poduska, the principal of the new Pk-5 Bamford Elementary school in Loveland, Colorado.
During her 35+ years of experience, Adele has worked with nearly 300 different schools in all aspects of the architectural practice, most notably educational planning and programming. She is passionate about making the connection between education and design by creating spaces for students to learn and thrive. She understands the complexities of Next Generation educational design, and has dedicated her career to designing high performing, beautiful schools that meet the needs of both current and future learners. Adele is an Accredited Learning Environment Planner, a professional designation signifying excellence in the industry.
Kara is a Principal in the education studio and has nearly three decades experience in school design. As a principal, Kara is a key member of the studio having led many education projects for public, public charter, and independent schools. Kara believes successful architecture is about listening to the client and manifesting their need and desires into the built environment. She believes design should offer a healthy and comfortable place-making space that improves productivity, morale and health while being visually compelling.
Alissa is the principal of Bamford Elementary. She was born and raised in northern Minnesota and earned an Elementary Education degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. In 2020, she opened the newest elementary school in Fort Collins, Bamford Elementary. Opening a school was a dream come true. Alissa works hard to promote and model a healthy work-life balance because spending time with her family is the most important thing to her. Alissa and her husband have three children and happily live in Fort Collins.
This track elevates Research on learning and learning environments and focuses on methodology, findings, and implications for practice. Tangible takeaways are encouraged, including tools and resources that support innovation and improvements to learning environments. There is Art in how we utilize Science to improve our design outcomes and our design and research process. To this end, dissemination of research findings is a priority so that learning environments are re-imagined and enhanced based on evidence and measured impact, not based on trends.
Primary Core Competency
Design of Educational Facilities: Acts as a resource to the design team in providing ongoing guidance and support to ensure that the emerging and ultimate design aligns with the established community vision, education goals, future programming, written design standards, best/next practices and education policy.