The creation of the Learning Commons in the summer of 2017 was an active attempt by Rockhurst High School to move towards a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) based curriculum, as well as to provide an area in which students can take the greatest advantage of their outside of classroom learning. The Learning Commons has quickly become a hub of activity, with many educational resources and assets being available to students to use at any time.
One of the many uses of the Learning Commons is the availability of space, which students use during their free time. Rockhurst has quickly turned to allowing students to have more free time; several classes a week are off, giving more time that a student can use. Thus, the application of the Learning Common in providing a quiet space or resources that can be used helped make this time more beneficial and efficient.
The Learning Commons also has the Pitch Space, an idea that has never before been put into application at Rockhurst. The Pitch Space allows teachers and administrators to bring in people from all over, whether Rockhurst graduates or workers in some field, in order to talk about their own experience and give advice to younger Rockhurst students. There is very real value to this. Students can get an outside perspective, and often, this perspective is from people who were in the same place some amount of years before. It is not only beneficial to the students but allows teachers to put in real world applications to what they are teaching. Business and economic classes can bring in people from those fields; science classes can bring in scientists, newspaper can bring in journalists, and technological fields can bring in people working in coding and design. The Pitch Space is one of the most important and innovative additions in that it allows students to get a greater and real world perspective on what they are learning
The Learning Commons is on the cutting edge of technological resources, especially in the areas where students can work together. There are three rooms within the Learning Commons in which students can form groups and help study and teach each other. These rooms are supplied with both white boards and little TVs which connect to the students IPads through through which they can show the screen up on it. They are separate rooms, which allows more quiet to focus on the task. It’s a useful addition and allows greater cohesion and group study among the students.
Last but not least, the resources that the Learning Commons provides aids students in their day to day lives. In the center of the area is the “library”. While there used to be an entire room committed to it, due to renovations and the additions of other areas, the library was condensed in put into the new Learning Commons. This does provide students with an easy way to access books though, something that might have been more difficult when the library was not in the center of the school. The Learning Commons also provides convenient tools which the students can use throughout the day, such as IPad chargers, printers, pencil sharpeners, and other available items.