GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Steelcase's school furniture operation, Steelcase Education, says it is accepting applications for the fourth year of its Active Learning Center Grant program, which invests in visionary educators and educational institutions that promote the advancement of active learning.
 
Steelcase says it has invested $3 million in classrooms in the first three years of this grant program. This year's Active Learning Center Grant will award up to 16 classrooms for grades 6-12 or within a college or university located in the United States, U.S. Territories, Puerto Rico, Canada or Mexico. The grant provides one active learning classroom, including furniture, design review, installation, onsite training and the Steelcase Education "Learning Environment Evaluation measurement tool". Grant recipients will choose from four types of classrooms designed for up to 30 students, valued at $67,000.
 
Steelcase Education aims at identifying leading educators and institutions implementing or expanding active learning initiatives in their existing learning spaces. The approach also helps spur the sale of classroom furnishings, since active learning more flexible seating and room designs.  
Manufacturing at Steelcase Education
"Students today are preparing for futures they can't predict and jobs that have yet to be invented," said Sean Corcorran, General Manager of Steelcase Education. "At the same time, employers complain graduates lack critical skills for real-world success – collaboration, critical thinking, communication and creativity. It's these gaps and recent research that has led many leading educators and institutions to implement active learning pedagogies. These new teaching and learning strategies involve engaging students with hands-on group work, synthesis, analysis and creativity."
 
Research shows that the change from passive to active learning often happens in places that hinder the adoption of new ways of teaching and learning. In too many cases the classroom remains static: desks arranged in rows and columns facing forward with little flexibility for the varied types of learning necessary today. It's often the classroom that hinders the adoption of active learning strategies.  
 
"The lack of flexible learning spaces is often the tension schools face as they shift from a passive to active learning model," said Craig Wilson, director of the Steelcase Education Active Learning Center Grant. "At Steelcase, we are focused on helping schools, colleges and universities create the most effective, rewarding and inspiring learning environments to meet the evolving needs of students and educators. The Active Learning Center Grant helps schools advance their active learning strategies while furthering our understanding of the impact of active learning on pedagogy, technology and the physical environment."
 
Grant recipients agree to provide sufficient dedicated space, participate in Steelcase Education onsite training, and conduct and share research over a two-year period.
 
Steelcase Education aims to make a difference in education. For students, educators and designers, the organization creates the most effective, rewarding and inspiring learning spaces. As a dedicated group within Steelcase exclusively focused on education, it brings evidence-based design, technology and innovative solutions to educational environments, wherever learning happens. www.steelcaseeducation.com
 

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