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Excerpt: “All the flexibility is meant to encourage a new type of learning: Learning by doing. Learning with new technology. Learning that is collaborative, personalized. Learning that architect Prakash Nair said more traditional schools are no good at. Nair is the founding president of Fielding Nair International and the author of the forthcoming book Blueprint for Tomorrow: Redesigning Schools for Student-Centered Learning. He calls traditional U.S. schools “cells and bells.” “Kids are in a cell called a classroom for a certain period of time,” he said. A bell goes off. “And then they go to another fairly identical cell.”


Nair says we currently have $2 trillion worth of “cells and bells” type school facilities around the country. “If you look at the research about how we learn, it has nothing to do with being trapped in a room with people of the same age,” he said. Nair imagines schools without big auditoriums, with cafes instead of large cafeterias. He says schools with open, flexible space can cost less to build than traditional schools.
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