13-Letter Word

The possibility of…a 13-letter word.

In the fall of 2015, I was awarded a competitive Fellowship by the National Institute on Out-of-School Time at Wellesley College and The National Writing Project to conduct national research. The focus area I choose to explore was learning spaces; specifically, methods for improving the quality of student experiences, as it relates to their physical learning spaces.

In the midst of this journey that had taken me from my home state of New Jersey to Oregon (and places in between), one day as I was scribbling on a page of my research notes, a 13-letter word came to me.  That word was: spatial-osophy.IMG_7385Before this unusual word flashed like a neon sign inside my mind, ‘spatial ambience’ was the working term I used at the time.  But, there was something more that I wanted to get at, something more to express.

The way I saw it, there was a philosophy to this—a spatial-osophy.

I wasn’t thinking about creating a word at the time, but it became the only one that could fully articulate the design concept I was developing, as it perfectly combined the concepts of design thinking and the principles of active learning.

And then, I realized that everything that occurred in the narrative of my experience in school settings—both as a student and as a teacher—had a much greater purpose to be discovered. That purpose was contained in a thirteen-letter word: Spatialosophy™.

*From the forthcoming publication Spatial Exploration.

(c) 2018 Devan Blackwell, M.A.


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