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Dr Julia Atkin – Spaces and resources


Space and resources are a key focus for school communities when developing their learning environments. During a new school build, this area is extensively explored as part of writing an education brief and then during the master planning and the design phases of a property project. Staff in existing and refurbished schools are often looking at ways they can increase the flexibility of their learning environments through the creative use of furniture and other fittings. 

Through this series of videos, Dr Julia Atkin discusses the positive impact that physical design can have on learning outcomes. She also highlights the need for space and resources to support effective and innovative pedagogy. 

Spaces and resources (Part 1)

Julia argues that spaces should be deliberately designed for different learning activities. 

"It's actually setting it up for the types of learning activities that you really want students to do and then making sure that the way you've set it up is actually helping that activity."


Spaces and resources (Part 2)

Julia outlines a practical process for teachers to work through to create agile and adaptable spaces.

"How do I start when I want to design my learning space?"

Spaces and resources (Part 3)

Julia explores the lessons learned from open learning spaces in the 1970's and how to involve learners in the design process. 

"It's about space, it's about what I'm doing as a teacher, it's about helping the students learn to work in that space."

Spaces and resources (Part 4)

Julia discusses how the physical environment impacts and supports learning.

"There is a 16 percent effect size on learning outcomes with spaces that are designed well."

Develop new spaces with students

Julia works with students to identify how their environment supports powerful learning.

"What things help you learn?"


What kinds of teaching and learning activities do students engage in?

What types of spaces and furniture would best support these activities?

Are our spaces flexible enough to adapt to future changes in teaching practices?

Do the furniture, fittings, and equipment have the potential to improve outcomes for learners?

Do our learning spaces work for everyone?

Is culture reflected in our spaces?

Have learners been involved in the design of our spaces?

Find out more

Designing learning environments

Why Finland is embracing open school design