Better Teaching Through Clever Classroom Design

The picture looks simple enough: A simple but well-made outdoor classroom. But it's more than that: The benches and supports make up a "math playground," where kids can play games that simultaneously teach them arithmetic. Dubbed the Learning Landscape, it was designed by Project H Design, which tested the concept in the U.S. before rolling it out at a school for AIDS orphans in Uganda. (More images here.)

Ingenious as the project is, it's interesting to contrast it with another high-tech project just presented at TED, involving computer-powered "tiles" that can be stacked and shuffled, in myriad interactive learning games:[youtube] two projects accomplish similar things: Providing an intuitive way to relate with abstract concepts. But I'd argue that technology-which we often view as an unalloyed savior-probably doesn't add much, when you compare what the kids are actually learning. That's germane to both educators and designers: Technology's ultimate goal is invisibility, while the best lessons are the ones that live in the world around you.Via BLDGBLOG.