A year ago, I left the Hastings and St Leonards Academies to join my current group of schools. One of the things I was proudest to have been involved in were the Creative Learning Centres which featured in both Academies.
The concept originated with the sponsors – East Sussex County Council, BT and the University of Brighton and built upon work done in local university campuses and CLCs in East Sussex.
The idea was to create extremely flexible, white spaces of about 120m2 which could be easily and rapidly reconfigured for different activities. They feature some mobile audio visual (we used Vertables) and lots of soft FF&E. The overall feel was designed to be ‘nothing like a classroom’.
Another key feature however is an immersive partitioned space, made using a thick specialist curtain in a U-shape creating a 25m2 space in one of the corners – a room within a room. A clever array of ceiling-mounted projectors and speakers enables the space to have images or video displayed on 3 walls and the floor, with different zoned sound effects.
The photos above and the video below show one of the activities the Hastings Academy has recently used it’s CLC for, creating a forensic focus for Y8 to develop their investigative skills. At the crime scene there were clues such as fingerprints, hair samples, footprints et cetera which the Y8 students had to use to deduce the killer. This activity was devised by the Academy’s science department, with help from IT Support.
For me, this is a great example of how simple technology, combined with creative ideas from teachers and a great built environment can really impact on students’ learning, inspiring them by presenting real world contextualised situations.