DRA to Present at Upcoming A4LE Conference

DRA to Present at Upcoming A4LE Conference

March 8, 2019 | Events

DRA to Present at Upcoming A4LE Conference

DRA will be presenting two sessions at the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) Northeast Regional Conference at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge on March 28th and 29th.

When We Come to the Place Where the School and the Makerspace Collide
Thursday, March 28th, 10:45 – 11:45 am

Philip Duffy, Director, Office of Community & Economic Development – Town of Clinton, MA
John Tindall-Gibson, PhD, ALEP – DRA
Greg Smolley, AIA, APA, ALEP, LEED AP – DRA
Jim Barrett, AIA, LEED AP, ALEP – DRA

Makerspaces are growing in popularity in communities throughout the United States. Of late, they have been finding their ways into libraries and schools. School architects will want to learn about best practices in creating Makerspaces to produce the greatest effectiveness in stimulating student engagement and achieving greater learning outcomes.

Young people love to make things. This trait is supported by a long history of educational theory, practice, and research. Learning and doing are inseparable aspects of human experience that, as they occur together, deepen understanding of our lives and the world we live in. A Makerspace can have a very natural and important role in a learning environment.

Makerspaces are also excellent venues for the development of prized future workplace skills. They can be the perfect lab for creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking and problem solving.

Makerspaces can be used by students and teachers individually, in small groups, or whole classes. Tied to the curriculum, they can be a great place for students to work on extensions of what they are learning in class. At the middle and high school levels, they can provide mentoring and equipment necessary to create a class projects, develop entrepreneurial ideas, or learn about new career pathways and skills.

As the desire to have Makerspaces in schools continues to grow, architects will have exciting and challenging opportunities to think about how building design can contribute most effectively to a revolutionary new educational practice.

Learning Objectives

The participant will be able to:

  • Articulate a research-based educational rationale for developing a Makerspace in a school
  • Become aware of equipment and furniture commonly used in Makerspaces
  • Observe several examples of how Maker projects can enrich and deepen learning about school curriculum
  • Consider design options for different types of Makerspaces


Beyond the Classroom: Preparing Students for the Future through Vocational Education
Thursday, March 28, 2019 | 10:45 – 11:45 am

Peter Driscoll – Dover High School and Regional Career Technical Center
Laura Wernick, FAIA, REFP, LEED AP – HMFH 
Carl Franceschi, AIA, LEED AP – DRA

Historically, vocational education has provided students with hands-on learning experiences to prepare them for a specific career path.

These spaces used to be relegated to the fringes of the core academic community, but the way planners and designers are approaching vocational education today is revolutionizing teaching and learning environments. The hands-on, practical skills building CTE schools provide is valued as an experience benefiting all students in an economy that rewards critical thinking, problem solving, and STEAM proficiency. When integrated with flexible academic spaces that support evolving pedagogy, schools become incubators for innovation and prepare students for college and careers that may well not even exist yet.

Panelists from four new and proposed high schools that operate as collaborative, multi-disciplinary environments blending academic, career and technical education will discuss their specific programs. The session will examine a broad range of innovative Career Technical Educational environments that support the latest pedagogies and learning styles, and demonstrate the value of integrating academic and CTE learning spaces and demonstrate the value of integrating academic and CTE learning spaces.

Learning Objectives
1. Understand learning synergies resulting from the integration of career tech programs and academic spaces from educators
2. Understand different, innovative models that use the physical environment to support blending career tech and academic programs
3. Explore with educators how they are integrating vocational and academic curriculum
4. Understand some of the regulatory and historic barriers that need to be overcome to more fully integrate academic and vocational programs.

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