ACT workshop explores innovation in American schools

Published: Monday 29 July 2019

The ACT Chapter and the Commonwealth Department of Education hosted David Stephen from the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s LEFT (Learning Environments for Tomorrow) for a facilitated workshop held on the 15th April in Canberra.

About 80 representatives from the Department, the ACT Education Directorate, the Association of Independent Schools ACT, the Catholic Education Office (Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese) and the ACT Chapter of Learning Environments Australasia, including architects, attended to benefit from David’s experience and research.

David has served for the past six years as Co-Chair of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s LEFT Institute. He is an Educational Planner with 15 years experienced as a licensed architect and school designer, as well as 25 years’ experience as a secondary teacher, Assistant Principal, K-12 curriculum development and teacher trainer. David has particular expertise in the design of programs and facilities that support student-centred and 21st century approaches to teaching and learning such as Project-Based Learning, STEM and STEAM, Career Tech Education and Design Thinking.

Through his work with New Vista as an Educational Planner, David seeks to help his clients articulate a clear and inspirational vision for their educational goals and priorities, then connect them to innovative design solutions for their master planning and building design projects. New Vista has played a key role in the design of a wide variety of award winning and reform-minded public, charter, and independent school programs and facilities throughout the U.S.

Passionate about the connections between education reform and future-ready learning environments, David also continues to lead multi-year professional development and teacher training initiatives in inquiry-and project-based teaching and learning. His publications include Cityworks: Exploring Your Community (The New Press, 1999), for which he won a Ford Innovations Award, and Architecture for Achievement: Building Patterns for Small School Learning (Eagle Chatter Press, 2007.

David’s school design projects include:

The Department saw this as an opportunity to share an overview of what innovative schools around the USA are thinking about and doing, through participants engaging in a discussion of what future-ready learning means to them, and then as an outcome, share a language about architectural priorities and features that support future-ready learning.

Article: Judy Apps