Citadels of learning should be explicitly considered as part of planning and delivery to influence the maximum potential of its effect on learning outcomes. Conducive learning environments will enhance the learning of students, enhance the quality of education and harness vibrant minds of high proficiency.
Recently, a Spanish university took a bold step in this vein to pay tribute to a genius, Dmitri Mendeleev. A giant periodic table has been unveiled on the side of the Chemistry faculty building at the University of Murcia in Spain.
This structure covers approximately 150m2 in total, and comprises 118 75×75cm metal squares. They represent all the known elements and are mounted on screens attached to the building. Its designers believe it is the largest mural periodic table in existence.
The Dean of the faculty of Chemistry, Pedro Lozano Rodríguez, says it was the bevelled design of the building’s glass and concrete facade that gave them the idea of building a giant periodic table.
‘We want to send a positive message to society about chemistry, and how much good chemistry has contributed to the wellness of society,’ he tells Chemistry World. ‘People must know that everything that surrounds us is formed by the elements contained in this periodic table.’ He adds that the ‘artistic ensemble’ will be completed with the addition of a 50-seat grandstand, which will be used as an open-air classroom for students to view the table as they learn.
The construction of the huge periodic table was sponsored by 12 companies based in the region. Wow! This poses a threat to similar development in many institutions. Glad there was sponsorship outside the learning environment. More of this will be welcomed.
This is not the first time Dmitri Mendeleev’s table has been recreated in giant form. In 2006, an eight-storey high periodic table made of posters was created at the Richard J Daley Center in Chicago, US, to celebrate the city’s first annual Science Expedition. And last year more than 100 schools in San Antonio, Texas, clubbed together to build the world’s largest periodic table by laying 3.5×4.5m tarpaulin ‘elements’ out in a stadium to cover an area of more than 2000m2.
Quality buildings and facilities are linked to enhance students’ achievement and engagement outcomes. Every institution of learning should have an inclusive environment which caters for the learning need and preferences of all students.
Environmental Psychology hints on the interaction between person and environment, reminds us that teachers and learners play vital role in interacting with their environment, instead of being passive in the learning process.
Key features of learning environment include: appropriate furniture, fittings, equipment, technology, colour, access and circulation, wall art paintings, interior spaces, lighting, building and facilities.
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