In line with President Obama’s directive to strengthen our military families, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has made a significant investment in
This is great news for military kids. For political activists, it's another addition to the list of reasons why voting Democrat is good for military families. But they're taking this one step further... not only are they improving schools, they're looking for our suggestions while still in the design phase. We have an opportunity to help design the schools of the future.
The Department of Defense is committed to ensuring that all children of military families are provided a world class education. As a result of this commitment, DoDEA will receive a budget increase authorizing the replacement of more than 100 schools worldwide. We would like to include input from parents and community partners as we design DoDEA schools for the future.
They are taking suggestions in two areas - School Buildings and School Grounds. We all know that the environment around us can make a huge difference to our ability to learn. It's important to design well from the get-go. Tell me your great ideas for the school of the future and I'll share the best of them with the DoDEA!
On the website, you'll find pictures of the new building ideas. They are asking for feedback in two main areas:
Help us design interior spaces that would be most conducive to your child’s learning. Here are a few things to consider, but please don’t limit your ideas.
- Learning spaces
- Specialty areas (labs/gyms/performing space)
- Community use
- Access to technology & informational resources
- Safety & security
- Other innovative ideas
Help us design exterior spaces that would be most conducive to your child’s learning. Here are a few things to consider, but please don’t limit your ideas.
- Outdoor learning spaces
- Safety & security
- Environmental considerations
- Performance spaces
- Other innovative ideas
People are all ready leaving responses. Some people are missing the point and are asking for specific schools to be upgraded. Others are overwhelmed by the modernity of the design - you'll read the words "too distracting" at least a dozen times. But some people are also giving specific ideas:
What do you think of classroom monitors?
Not only will classroom monitors help parents check up on the behavior of their children, it will also help parents check up on some of the appalling stories their children bring to their attention. Classroom Monitors Please!!!
Or about laboratories?
Too much focus is on converting hands-on instruction into virtual labs and animations. This gives a false impression that good data and real observations can be generated on computers. This leads to pseudo-science ideas. Schools still need labs for science.
A few people are recommending a wiki. Does anyone know what they're referring to?
A few agree with Michelle Obama:
Each school should have a quarter-mile track (yes, even elementary schools). This can be used by classroom teachers and parents as well as PE teachers. We must begin to focus on healthy outdoor exercise activity to combat the obesity epidemic. Larger classrooms so that younger kids may move around and exercise between workstations. Outdoor garden space so that kids can grow and taste new kinds of vegetables. More storage space all around but especially for the cafeteria (cold storage) so they can serve more fruits and veggies.
And at least one thinks the library will be outdated in the new schools:
There will be no library. All books will be digital. A student can download a book which will be automatically removed from his/her mobile learning device after so many weeks. If the stduent finished early the student can send the book back. At this point the book becomes available to be sent to/downloaded by another student. Of course if the school purchased multiple copies, then more than one copy can be out at one time.
The best comment overall takes the example of an already built school in Virginia, Manassas Elementary School, and recommends the DoDEA us it as an example. It's a model green school and is worth taking a look at.
We have the opportunity to help guide the building of some future schools. Do you know of a school like the one in Virginia that the DoD needs to hear about? Do you have ideas of your own? What would you have the DoDEA build for your kids or for your students?
Submissions for ideas will finish on June 16, 2011.