Planning a High School Learning Commons at Gann Academy

 Learning Commons Entrance

Learning Commons Entrance

GANN ACADEMY, WALTHAM, MA — As modalities of teaching and learning have evolved since its 2003 school opened, Gann Academy identified the creation of a Learning Commons and Maker Space as a priority to better align its facilities with its educational mission. Gann engaged MDS to study options for adapting existing spaces to create a new hub for learning, research, multimedia exploration, and community engagement.

Our concept study explores the creation of open and closed learning and study spaces, innovation lab, library/media center, digital design lab, studio art room, learning support services facility, and other spaces to support interrelated activities. The new facilities seek to: 

  • Foster multiple modalities of teaching and learning — from class work and group work to quiet individual study;
  • Facilitate fluid movement between research, discussion, ideation and creation;
  • Seamlessly integrate support into learning;
  • Make learning visible and celebrate Gann Academy’s core skills;
  • Be a comfortable and stimulating environment that teachers and students want to be in.
 Learning Commons

Learning Commons


 

A combination of open and closed classrooms and presentation spaces encourage small group work and quiet individual study.

 

 Learning Commons

Learning Commons


Learning support services—including the Writing Center, IT help desk, research assistance, math help, and peer tutoring—are fully integrated into the Learning Commons.


 Academic Services

Academic Services

 Academic Services

Academic Services


Multimedia labs for innovation with wood working, metal working, sewing, 3D printing, laser cutting, digital design complement the school's studio art studios.


 Maker Space

Maker Space


Transparency throughout the Learning Commons and its many program areas allows students walking through the space to see the work going on inside.


 Tinker Space

Tinker Space

 Digital Design Studio

Digital Design Studio


 

Making learning visible, the Learning Commons includes areas for public presentations to engage passersby.

 

 Informal Presentation Space

Informal Presentation Space


Above all, the Learning Commons should be a comfortable and stimulating environment that enhances school community.