I was about to write another post about the School of the Future being a green building and then I started wondering when being 'green' became so popular. As some Educators here at the school subscribe to the Constructivist Theory of learning, I myself had to gain an understanding of why being green is at the forefront of Education today. Don't worry, I'll try to keep this conversation short and succinct, but the objective will be to not only gain an understanding of WHY going green will help your schools but HOW going green has helped learning outcomes here at the school.
I don't know why I had this random thought, but let's start with the cliché "x is the new y" - this catchphrase is part of pop culture and can easily used or misused when it comes to discussing current events. I'd hope that talking about going green never becomes a catchphrase, because from what I've heard from many education customers around the country is that most districts are at least considering incorporating some green aspects into their new buildings. Let's get one thing straight though, this conversation around going green is not about us (adults) it's about the youth of today understanding the impact that going green will have upon their future and future generations.
"If we exclude nights, weekends, holidays, and summers, our nation’s children spend the better part of their waking hours at school for at least six months of the year. If we teach and model green behaviors and if we put things in place for them to be able to carry out these actions, then when they become the leaders of commerce and government, theoretically everything else will follow suit."
By A. Darin. (2009, March 14). What Schools Are Doing to Become More Green . The Epoch Times. Retrieved March 30, 2009, from http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/13696/
There have been quite a few articles written that reference the green aspects of School of the Future, and as a matter of fact we've just published our Green Brief that describes the many differences our building and technology employs to gain not only the Gold LEEDs (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, but to enhance the engagement and learning that occurs by having invested in a building and a culture that embraces the idea of environmental change.
There are a few examples of how going green can cut budgets by increasing the value over the life of a building or cutting the costs of building one. Once you start seeing the savings of those green buildings you can focus on increasing engagement in the classroom. The US stimulus package will offer some relief to struggling school districts, including Philadelphia, but the question about how to utilize the funding will always exist. Read this particular article that describes the affects that the stimulus funding may have on education, but only if the funding is used for its proposed purpose and that is to "enhance technology in education institutions".
What do you think? Stimulus + Green Buildings = Savings for School Districts??
More Green on the way...stay tuned!