Today marks the first day for me in the behind-closed-(virtual)-doors review process as a member of the 8th annual Design Share "Innovative Learning Environments" Awards Program that considers some truly remarkable schools, libraries, community leaning centers, etc from around the world.
While I had a lovely front-row seat the last few years while leading DS, helping to build the international jury of top-notch designers and educators, and running the overall Awards program itself, this is the first time I get to be 'just' a jury member.
From first glance, the global learning environments we've been given to review are remarkable. Yet again. Projects from around the US, Canada, Spain, Holland, UK, and India are just some of the options we'll be considering, many of them set to join past award winning, innovative school design projects from around the world.
Of course, we won't know the names of the schools or design teams until the winners are selected and published (in Edutopia magazine as in 2007 and 2006, on the DS site, in the UK's SchoolsForLife publication, etc.), so I can't share any real details at this point, but I can at least share a sense of who I get to learn with/from along the way.
The 2008 DesignShare Jury Team includes the following individuals (along with many other amazing souls):
- Prof. Stephen Heppel (UK) -- If you know anything about ICT and educational technology, you know Stephen is one of the true visionaries we've ever had. Heck, Microsoft called him: "Europe’s leading online education expert." Oh, and he's a great guy to have a conversation with, especially if you love sailing!
- David Smith (Cayman Islands) -- Director of Facilities and Construction Management, Ministry of Education, Training, Employment, Youth, Sports & Culture Cayman Islands Government.
- Mukund Patel (UK) -- Previous head of Schools Capital Assets, Department for Education and Skills, UK Ministry of Education.
- Judy Marks (US) -- Associate Director of the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF), the nation’s premier source of current, comprehensive information on planning, designing, funding, building, and maintaining safe, healthy, high performance schools.
- Dr. Susan Wolff (US) -- Dean of Instruction at Columbia Gorge Community College, located in The Dalles, Oregon.
- Dr. Jeff Lackney (US) -- Consults internationally as a partner with FNI in the role of and architect and educational facility planner advocating innovative vision-driven approaches to planning for education.
Needless to say, I'm anxious for the team to begin collaborating -- via a wiki-like tool, of course -- over the next 2 months.
In the meantime, I have a healthy list of school design projects I have to review so that I can add my comments to the team's overall efforts. Time to get to work!