Take the word "library" for example. What comes to mind? For me, I picture rows upon rows of book shelves with the occasional individual hunched over a large dusty tome. Silence reigns, except for the occasional annoyed "sshhh" from a librarian. Is this the space that we want in our schools today, where noisy collaboration is discouraged and isolation is all but mandated by the limitations of the physical space? Of course not! Then why are we using a word laden with connotations that no longer fit its use? Why not literally redefine the space by choosing a name that is purpose driven and that fits its function: Research Learning Lab. Using a name that better reflects what takes place in the space can help students as well as faculty make new associations and even shape future behavior.
As we rethink the design of our physical spaces, I encourage school leaders to consider the names they use. A "classroom" is a term that is void of meaning, other than the fact that is a room for a class. What are the actions that we wish to take place here? How can we essentially "rebrand" a classroom to clarify the purpose of the room and the actions that we want to see occur? The Barrie School has chosen the name "Learning Studio", but as you can see from the brainstorm list above, the possibilities are limitless.