95% of Students Learn Better When They’re Empowered to Create, New Study Finds

One year after opening the first-of-its-kind learning center, the
nationally-renowned Beaver Country Day School found that students
experience deeper learning in the collaborative, project-based space.

Country Day School
, a nationally-renowned school known for its
future-focused approach to education, today released the results of its Student
Engagement Study
, which found that 95% of students understand topics
better when learning in a collaborative, project-based space. The study
examined the school’s new Research + Design Center, a state-of-the-art
innovation hub designed to promote student-driven learning. Working with
the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Beaver used the Center to
explore how project-based learning environments enhance concept mastery
and equip students with more effective problem solving skills. The
overwhelmingly positive results of the study validate the efficacy of
project-based, collaborative learning environments and suggest the need
to introduce more of these opportunities throughout education systems.

Supporting this claim, the study found that 78% of students who executed
projects in the R+D Center agreed these projects related to their future
interests. An additional 55% agreed the space allowed them to develop
skills that would support their future endeavors. In the Center,
students can utilize the latest technologies such as podcasting booths,
3D printers, and virtual reality environments, as well as sewing
machines and other more traditional materials. The space provides an
opportunity to expand upon the collaborative, student-driven learning
approach Beaver has always incorporated in the classroom, and empowers
students to feel comfortable exploring new technologies and ideas.

“At Beaver, we operate with a future-focused mindset,” said Peter
Hutton, Head of Beaver Country Day School. “Our goal has always been to
prepare students not just for college, but for a career path of multiple
jobs that might not even exist yet. The results of this study show
students thrive in real-world environments in which knowledge isn’t
simply handed to them, but instead must be discovered and exercised. In
the classrooms and in the R+D Center, students are prompted to think
like creative originals; to engage with real-world ideas that in turn
help them develop intensely nuanced problem solving skills.”

According to a recent
, 91% of CEOs agree they need to strengthen their
organization’s soft skills to sit alongside digital skills, meaning
future workers will need to be creative, curious and innovative. By
empowering students to explore their strengths, aptitudes and interests,
the R+D Center puts creativity at the forefront of Beaver’s curricula
and supports students in developing their individualism and originality.
As innovation drives the world’s economy and workforce into an unknown
future, creating an educational environment that rears creative,
proactive students is crucial to preparing them for the future of work.

“What excites us most about the R+D Center is its infinite potential,”
added Jayne Everson, R+D Center Experience Lead. “We have a space that
can keep up with the relentless pace of innovation and support both
current and future students’ needs. The youngest students in our school
are those who reported feeling the most confident using the R+D Center
and its technologies. In five years, we need the space to be able to
support those same students, who will be far more skilled and
tech-savvy. The flexible, future-focused nature of the Center allows us
to achieve that.”

The success of the Center further demonstrates that by creating learning
environments that resemble real-world work spaces, students feel more
prepared for the future of work, learning and innovation.

“At Beaver, we have always been dedicated to preparing our students for
their future,” said Nancy Caruso, Associate Head of School at Beaver
Country Day School. “The R+D Center is an extension of our classroom
curriculum and introduces an environment where students can take the
ideas they conceive in the classroom to the next level.”

As technology continues to change the world, it is essential that
educators continuously reexamine the structure of classrooms and
curricula across the country to better suit the needs of modern and
future students. The R+D Center is an exciting example of a dynamic
space that is capable of adapting to emerging needs and innovations, and
serves as an emblem for a modern approach to education.

to view the Student Engagement Study, and here
for visual assets of the R+D Center.

About Beaver Country Day School
Beaver Country Day School is
an independent school for grades 6-12 located just outside Boston that
boasts a modern and innovative pedagogy based on student-centered
design. Beaver administrators and faculty are steadfast in their pursuit
of expanding the nature of school for students and teachers. Central to
the Beaver curriculum are essential skills Beaver calls The New Basics,
which include creative-problem solving, collaboration, iteration, visual
communication, empathy, tech & media literacy, and presentation skills.
Innovation partnerships, challenging academics , and a technology-driven
educational environment make Beaver a leader in independent,
college-preparatory education. Beaver students come from more than 70
communities in and around Boston and speak 20 different languages at

About the Research + Design Center
The R+D Center is a
three-level, 24,000 square-foot space entirely dedicated to
collaboration, innovation, and creativity. The building was created to
accommodate the dynamic pedagogies and emerging technologies already
incorporated into Beaver’s curriculum, and serve as a space for students
to create in whatever way suits them best. The R+D Center houses new
technology and machinery, ideas and experiences, and inspires innovative
classes and curriculum development. The R+D Center was designed to
foster creativity and to continuously evolve as Beaver’s teaching and
learning methods develop. It will serve as a source of inspiration for
the Beaver community, lending itself to the school’s future-focused


BIGfish Communications for Beaver Country Day School
Adriana Howell

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