The Academies of Loudoun (AOL), a new STEM education and career readiness academy, wanted to create opportunities for students and faculty to innovate, explore, research, and collaborate. Our team focused on creating an environment that promoted and facilitated AOL’s approach to STEM learning: common goals, instructional content, and learning-by-doing.
AOL will bring the existing Academy of Science, the existing Monroe Advanced Technology Academy, and the new Academy of Engineering & Technology together under one roof. Before, the existing academies had been operating in isolation, but we worked closely with instructional staff to realize the vision of “interdependence and integration.” Collaboration was encouraged through trans-disciplinary spaces such as the innovation commons, maker space, informal collaboration areas, team rooms, and green roofs.
This project re-imagined the AOL space needs in terms of learning activities rather than traditional content. This simplified a complex program and allowed everyone to refocus from what was being taught to how students would learn. The result? A highly flexible, 21st Century learning environment that’ll adapt to support innovative programs as they evolve and support skills development for college and workplace readiness.