Read this Book: The Space: A Guide for Educators

Read this Book: The Space: A Guide for Educators | The Space is an amazing resource on learning space design. It helps educators to learn to think as designers, to co-design their spaces with their students and to create learning spaces that are inclusive of ALL their students.

When educators and designers get together to write a book on learning spaces, amazing things happen.  Many books on learning space design focus on lots of gorgeous photos of expensively renovated school environments, language to use with architects or projects that are amazing, but not always easy to replicate.  The Space takes a different approach.  There are many beautiful pictures to be sure.  But this book is more about creating a new mindset.  A mindset that focuses on intentional design and putting your students’ needs first.  What I love about this book is that it can apply to any educational space, be it classroom, library, makerspace, lab, etc.  And the ideas are doable on any budget.  Here are some of my favorite takeaways:

We are designing to amplify learning

Learn to Think Like a Designer

Right at the beginning, Hare and Dillon set the tone that this book is about helping you to think like a designer.  It can be easy to fall into the trap of decorating. We paint the walls, put up pretty signage that we found online and say that our room is redesigned.  But rethinking your room is so much more than just making it pretty.  The Space offers up ideas, questions, and exercises to help you to start looking at your space from a designer’s perspective.

design with, not for

Co-design WITH Your Students

One of my favorite elements of this book is how the authors emphasize designing WITH your students rather than FOR your students.  They offer lots of great ideas for collaborating with your students.  There are examples of brainstorming activities, creating a common language, and offering feedback.  One idea that’s so simple yet perfect is to have the kids take ownership by doing things like building the furniture, painting the walls and designing artwork for the space.  Things like these are easy to do and make a big impact.

spaces in action

Create spaces that are inclusive of ALL of our students

Hare and Dillon emphasize that our students have a variety of learning needs.  They need flexible seating environments to accommodate different learning styles and activities.  The need areas to ideate and brainstorm.  And Universal Design for Learning needs to be applied.  This is basically the idea that the design of the classroom should work for every student, including those with disabilities.

The SpaceCheck out The Space: A Guide for Educators

If you’re passionate about creating a learning space that enhances your students’ learning experiences, get your hands on a copy of The Space.  It’s sure to inspire you and your students.

Have you read The Space?  What’s your favorite takeaway?


Diana Rendina, MLIS, is the media specialist at Tampa Preparatory School, an independent 6-12 in Tampa, FL. Previously, she was the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School for seven years, where she founded their library makerspace. She is the creator of the blog RenovatedLearning.com & is also a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Secondary Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace with Colleen and Aaron Graves and is also the author Reimagining Library Spaces: Transform Your Space on Any Budget.