6 steps to an innovative learning environment at your school

by zhoosh_admin | Apr 30, 2020

What’s involved in converting your classroom into an innovative learning environment?

A question often asked is “what’s involved in creating an innovative learning environment”. We have set out to set out in clear terms what’s involved in converting your existing classrooms into modern and innovative learning environments.

The Government wants all New Zealand schools to provide quality innovative learning environments by 2030. This innovative learning environment target is about the physical elements of the learning environment, and how well the property is aligned to the needs of teaching and learning at each school.

With over 2100 schools in New Zealand this is a big ask but not an unachievable or very much needed requirement. What better hope and future can we give the young generation than a quality education and part of this is the building of quality innovative learning environment buildings at our schools.

What’s important when refurbishing a classroom and converting it into an innovative learning environment?

The following items are the critical items that you must get right in order to meet the ministry’s guidelines.

  • Acoustics
  • Ventilation and indoor air quality
  • Heating and insulation
  • Lighting

The above elements are the four primary pillars that make up a quality innovative learning environment, of course, there are many other elements such as IT, fire protection etc that are all important and requirement but a study has shown that if you get the building acoustics right, the ventilation with maximum indoor air quality, correct heating and lighting levels the teaching and learning experience is improved dramatically.

Where to start?

Step 1 – Complete a learning environment assessment using the online tool (if not already done as part of your 10 YPP.

Step 2 – Complete your 5YA funding plan and budget.

Step 3 – Engage a project manager, depending on the size and complexity of your project you may need to engage an external project manager to assist with the project design and tender process. If your project is budgeted to cost less than $100,000 we recommend that you save costs and work directly with a design-build construction or refurbishment company that specialises in schools and education facilities.

Step 3 – Start the design phase, one of the most critical aspects of any project but especially a school refurbishment of an existing classroom to an innovative learning environment is the design. Poor design not only delivery’s a bad user experience it can also cost more in construction costs.

Step 4 – Project costings, once you have the design sorted put it out to the market to get a competitive market price for the project, if you use a design-build company (recommended) this will be done by the design-build contractor, the pricing is open book so you have clarity around what each aspect of the project is costing.

Step 5 – Start the building project, award the project to the most competitive contractor but be sure that the specification matches your requirements and when comparing building or construction company proposals be sure to check that there is no hidden terms or tags that have been excluded from the proposals that could leave you exposed to additional variation charges.

Step 6 – Move into your new space!

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