Blog Post

Investigating the Krause Innovation Studio's Built Pedagogy

The Krause Innovation Studio learning space, located at 201 Chambers Building on the University Park campus of Penn State University, will open in the next two months. The actual date is TBA. Supported by a generous gift from Gay and Bill Krause, the Krause Innovation Studio is a research focused initiative and the learning space will provide faculty with opportunities for researching innovative pedagogy. The learning space will feature collaborative spaces, private meeting rooms, and a state of the art Learn Lab for teaching and learning purposes. 

Within the Learn Lab, teachers and students will find media:scape furniture from Steelcase which is intended to allow any person in the room to display information from their computer to all or some subset of the projectors in the room. Teachers will be able to take advantage of the many affordances of the Learn Lab to research innovative pedagogy. In this flickr slideshow, you will find images from the construction of the Krause Innovation Studio learning space. 

I mention above that the space provides opportunities for researching innovative pedagogy. How? What about this space is innovative? What about this space is different than traditional learning spaces? I could spend the next few paragraphs explaining exactly how the space was designed (from my perspective) and what sets it apart from other learning spaces.

Better yet, I could provide a glimpse into the design process by talking to the stakeholders invested in the design of the learning space. This group of individuals includes the Dean of the College of Education, the Director of the Krause Innovation Studio, the Architects, the Building Coordinators, and the IT Lab/Classroom Specialists among others. 

This is exactly what I am planning to do in the next few months. I will begin a study in which I will investigate the Krause Innovation Studio learning space's built pedagogy (Monahan, 2002). Monahan explains built pedagogy as the "architectural embodiment of educational philosophies". In this investigation, I will interview the stakeholders and ask them the following set of questions:

  • What was the rationale for decisions made during the design process? 
  • How did learning theories influence decisions made during the design process? 
  • How is this space different than other (learning) spaces that you've designed? 

Do you have additional questions for the stakeholders? Are you interested in anything else regarding the built pedagogy? If yes, let me know what your questions are and I will add them to my investigation.

This post is cross-listed on the Krause Innovation Studio blog (



Michael, your project sounds really interesting. With so many learning labs / Digital Humanities labs / collaboration spaces opening up on college campuses, there are lots of decisions being made that will impact how those spaces are used. I'm always amazed at how little tiny tweaks in physical space can make such a huge impact on the kinds of conversations that happen. There's nothing I hate more than a classroom with rows of desks, all facing the teacher and a white board. 

The projection-furniture is a bit mind-boggling - I'll have to look it up. 

I wonder how much color theory is being used - from this photo below, it looks like an entire rainbow spectrum will be used to separate spaces.


Recently I had the chance to tour an amazing new space at Brown called the Granoff Center for Creative Arts. It's this super interdisciplinary space that isn't owned by any one department, and is full of high-tech classrooms and labs. Professors can propose to offer classes there, and I saw one lab that was home to a class on musical instruments. They learned the history of various instruments, the mechanics of sound, various forms of electronic sounds, and then had to imagine and develop a new instrument on their own. The room was littered with parts of circuits and wood and strings and various pieces of plexiglass shaped into different forms. The room was surrounded by glass, like the rooms in your lab, and they'd figured out that you can write on them directly with dry erase markers. The effect was pretty cool, and it was cool to see high tech surrounded by a comparatively low tech solution. That seems like it might be useful here too!

Keep us posted on the development of the space and your work!


Fiona, thanks for the information about the Granoff Center for Creative Arts. I added it to a list of centers/organizations that we are using in a competitive analysis for our Krause Innovation Studio. We are working with a design firm comprised of anthropologists, web designers, and graphic designers to think about our web presence and how we fit into the field of education. 

The colors used in the space have received mixed reviews so far. Faculty are questioning our use of colors, however, many students using the space are grafitating to the extreme colors such as the fuschia/pink room that we have available for use. And, they are enjoying the colors! Color theory does contribute to the design, but I'm trying to figure out how much.

Right now we are starting to interview stakeholders involved in the design of our space regarding the rationale, learning theories, and built pedagogy behind the space. I will provide more information on HASTAC's blog as we collect data. It should be an interesting conversation.