Like most of my peers, I entered this studio with a very conventional sense of what education should be, and these past 20+ weeks have really altered those beliefs. What exactly was this Open Source Learning, and how was it the “end-all” answer to learning in the 21st century? Through exploring many texts and traversing new cities, I feel as if I have pieced many of the big ideas together.
The Dewey and Illich readings for me were a great introduction into this idea of an open source learning ideal. Having a system that is based off a shared network of skills and ideas rather than a “Sage of the classroom,” as Mark would put it, is essential for a 21st century scholar (Ahem, life long learner). Needless to say, I was convinced. Growing up feeling… less than smart than my peers wasn’t always easy. I struggled in math, but excelled in art, history, and english, which makes me realize that not every student learns the same. The big question for me however was to see how architecture could provoke and ignite these learning conditions: ones that vary in scale and ambiance to bring to best of each student, have each lifelong learner find their own spark. Unpopular opinion: I did however enjoy my high school experience. I felt the way my school went about with teaching it was always refreshing and fun, like many of the schools we visited was highly project based which included projects that bridged science, english, and history.
Our journey to San Diego and Chicago allowed us to rub shoulders with some of the leading educators and architects of this awakening of rethinking education. With these two visits as a collective mind, we as a studio came up with manifestos which embody what learning should be. It was honestly an intense and daunting experience, however with the help our each of the educators we were able to reach a consensus.
The biggest epiphany for me perhaps had to be the notion that Mark had set up our studio as an Open Source environment! I feel like our studio was just a constant exchange of knowledge beyond the bond I got to develop with each one of my classmates. By the end of winter quarter, you started to get an idea who excelled at what, and that honestly was such a big help whenever I didn’t necessarily know how to go about something
Beyond just the big ideas, these past two quarters also pushed me as a designer… and designing with another person. With the integration of ECS and the major focus on section and wall sections this quarter, I felt like the sheer amount of detail was difficult to piece together initially. It definitely comes through many iterations and learning from others at the pin ups. I’m leaving this quarter with a good understanding on systems and how things are constructed to say the least.
First quarter I really explored the idea of integrating my ideas of education with the sectional qualities of my building and the micro scale of the spaces to facilitate different sensorial learning environments. Dialing in on the visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning environments in which to learn from was my design driver. My depth of rhino modeling increased a lot this quarter, and it’s still my favorite project that I’ve done til this day.
Second quarter my partner and I continued these ideas of flexible learning spaces within our school to help make learning fun. These informal places to exchange knowledge, we coined as the living rooms, which offer different scales of sociability. The four living rooms in addition to the interest areas and the Learning Pods combine and allow students to learn in a variety of ways. The process getting to the end was a real struggle though because it honestly felt like our ideas were constantly shot down, and for a while it seemed like every studio Taylor and I would be starting from scratch.
Working with a partner proved difficult at times, but my main takeaway from this whole experience is to hold yourself accountable for everything you say you’re going to do, and I felt like I held myself to these principles. It was challenging at first to set up times for my partner and I to work together, with me being a night person and my partner being the opposite. Sacrificing my own personal needs was in part a way that helped me pull my part of the weight however.