Cracking the Code: Innovating within a Non-Innovative Ecosystem to get to Immersive Learning Environments and Zero Energy

3:30 PM
 4:30 PM


Challenge: We want to innovate but face a ‘system’ that hinders opportunities to create an Innovative Learning Process, with innovative learning environments, and innovative implementations. School leadership tend to be risked-averse and believe 21st century learning can happen in typical classrooms, Ed-Specs don’t reflect 21st century learning environment needs, and project budgets don’t look at life-cycle costs. How can we crack the code? Enter: NEOCITY Academy, a new, 500-student, public Immersive Learningscape STEM high school and First Net-Zero-Energy School in Florida. This presentation will tell a 360-degree story of how a partnership between Key District Leadership, a forward-thinking Principal, and an ambitious Design Team, provided a Learning experience grounded in 3 key ideas: Create an Immersive Learning Environment designed to support an alternative learning process amid a rigid EdSpec, A Zero-Energy Building that supports a STEM culture of innovation within a strict budget, and a partnership with The University of Central Florida’s College of Education and NEOCITY industry businesses to support the Florida High Tech’s needs with students that practice innovation and work on 21st century skills daily. NEOCITY is a new urbanist development at the epicenter of a boom in the high-tech, advanced manufacturing industry. The design team was tasked to design the school within the state mandated budget and space requirements. NEOCITY has been developed as a 21st century, Immersive Learningscape, STEM-focused school offering students 3 curriculum paths: Advanced Engineering, Biomedical, and Cyber Security. The facility is designed to use 70% less energy than a typical public school in Osceola County. The school’s high-performance, low-energy design will save approximately $115,000 per year on energy costs and almost $2.7 million over 20 years in life cycle costs compared to a typical district school. This innovative new school will be a key teaching tool supporting the development and execution of high-tech curriculum.

#1: Describe the process and details by which the Partnership of District Leaders, School Principal and Design Team underwent to Innovate within a rigid non-innovative educational system
#2: Define the ways in which 21st century, Immersive Learning environments, based on concepts of Brain-Based Learning, Wellness, and Inclusiveness. support and enhance a high-tech, advanced manufacturing STEM high school curriculum
#3: Describe the ways in which reducing the energy use of the building also focuses on improving cognitive function and the health and well-being of the building occupants.
#4: Demonstrate 5 key ways in which a public school can reduce its energy use low enough so that a renewable energy source can be added within the project budget including strategies of high-performance envelope detailing for tilt-wall and precast building typologies.  

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.

Philip Donovan, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Community Studio Principal, Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, Inc.
Philip, Community Studio principal at Little, and President of the A4LE Florida Chapter has over 14 years’ experience rooted in the design of high-performance, zero-energy learning environments that focus on the health and well-being of occupants. He has served as a project architect on three net-zero energy schools. He also served as a technical peer reviewer for the Advanced Energy Design Guide for K-12 Schools: Achieving Zero Energy and the USGBC’s Center for Green Schools.

Tomas Jimenez-Eliaeson, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Partner & Design Principal, Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, Inc.
Tomas is a Partner & Design Principal for the Community Practice Area at Little, an industry-leading architecture and design firm with more than 410 professionals in seven locations across the country. Tomas is focused on projects that fuse typological redefinitions and environmentally conscious design with leading-edge technology and innovation. He is highly passionate about the future of education and has written about the Immersive Learningscape, an innovative approach to future learning spaces.

Michael Meechin, Principal, NeoCity Academy High School, School District of Osceola County
Michael has worked with schools in Central Florida and Atlanta. He serves on the Advisory Board for the Future of Educational Technology Conference, is a member of the State of Florida AVID Principals' Collaborative and is a Fellow of the Florida Department of Education Brian Dassler Leadership Academy. In 2018, Michael was named Florida’s Innovative Principal of the Year by the Florida Council of Instructional Technology Leaders. 

LearningSCAPES Virtual Conference: Passport to Learning



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