Facility Management and Student Growth
As a classroom educator, one of the paramounts for establishing a “culture of thinking and learning” is establishing a safe learning environment where individuals, including the teacher, feel comfortable sharing, taking risks, and ultimately growing (Ron Ritchhart of the Harvard School of Education).
Campus managers take special care in the selection of materials, seating arrangements, sign posts, and even the lighting, etc. to overcome as many of the barriers of learning that students encounter on a daily basis.
Similar strategies are applied to grade-school classrooms, higher-ed facilities, technical schools and corporate campuses.
Where The Learning Happens
One aspect of a school that is essential to the success of all of the stakeholders is the facilities itself. The facilities are where the learning, the sports, and business takes place.
Facility managers must take special care in the management of the buildings as there are many silent and not so silent factors that can interfere with the daily growth of those who inhabit the building.
According to a planning guide for maintaining facilities prepared by individuals from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), factors such as structural components, air quality, lighting, grounds etc. must be maintained on a daily basis.
Interruptions and disruptions such as noisy heaters, flickering lights, or leaking ceiling tiles can create uncomfortable learning environments and in some cases provide distractions that can derail an entire class period for students and teachers.
Building Efficient Facility Management Strategies
With an endless list of to dos and multiple buildings and locations, facilities managers must create a seamless strategy for sustaining and maintaining building components.
The NCES guide suggests individuals should seek out opportunities for feedback and collaboration in order to efficiently and accurately strategize.
When thinking about collaboration, one might seek out some of the obvious contributors such as administrators, teachers, and maintenance workers, but two often untapped resources are the students and community members themselves who utilize the facilities.
The budding innovators who sit in the creaky desks, quickly shove books in lockers, and who race between one class to another have a lot of experience and ideas when it comes to the facilities.
It is also widely known that when students have a say in the school environments that they inhabit on a daily basis, they begin to take ownership of not only the building and space but also of their learning.
There are so many things that feel out of the control of students, teachers, and other stakeholders in the education world.
Involving everyone in the maintenance of a facility can further establish a mutually beneficial, positive, productive learning environment.
In the Ron Ritchhart book Creating Culture of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must master to Truly Transform Our Schools he cites the following quotation: “In the United States, a consistent finding from the National Assessment of Educational Progress is that students at all levels of testing (ages nine, thirteen, and seventeen) are generally able to show mastery of the procedures taught, but struggle to apply their knowledge to problem-solving situations that are not clear-cut matters of applying a rule (Carpenter, Corbitt, Kepner, Lindquist, & Reys, 1980).”
What better way to allow problem-solving to be modeled and for students to test out their own application of these skills than through contributing to their own learning environments.
The Complexity of Facility Maintenance on Campus
In choosing to involve so many individuals in the process as well as considering the many components that go into a single school building, district, campus, institution, one might encounter barriers related to organization, time, and communication.
Digital tools such as eFacility can help to solve some of these issues by storing information in a way that is easily searchable and accessible.
Capturing The Institutional Knowledge of Your Team
As facilities and the workforce age, it is also important that buildings have a clear history and record of how they have been maintained so that the institutional knowledge related to their maintenance is not lost to transition and new hires.
Digital tools like eFacility can assist in preventative maintenance measures as well as help individuals to remain proactive in anticipating some of the problems that can occur in a facility.
In storing information related to what could potentially go wrong with a particular component such as a heater, lighting, outlet, projector, etc., one can also more efficiently diagnose a problem and learning can continue with very few interruptions.
Ultimately, providing learning environments in the school, college and even corporate that are safe, positive, and productive spaces is essential to growth and innovation.
One barrier that can often interfere with progress often involves the facilities themselves.
Through the careful use of digital tools such as eFacility to assist with organization and efficiency, managers can ensure that little interferes with the broadening of knowledge and opportunities.
eFacility provides software for facility managers that need to capture and share institutional knowledge.
eFacility’s patented technology allows technicians to access the documentation necessary to complete a work order from a mobile device.
Geo-based documentation delivery ensures the technician can quickly access the important documentation for only the area of the facility in which they’re standing.
Learning Environments. (2020, February 24). Retrieved from http://www.pz.harvard.edu/topics/learning-environments
Ritchhart, R. (2015). Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools. Jossey-Basey: San Francisco, CA. Retrieved from http://www.pz.harvard.edu/resources/creating-cultures-of-thinking-the-8-forces-we-must-master-to-truly-transform-our-schools
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Forum on Education Statistics. Planning Guide for Maintaining School Facilities, NCES 2003-347, prepared by T. Szuba, R. Young, and the School Facilities Maintenance Task Force. Washington, DC: 2003.