Education organization recognizes Leaf ™ wall with an innovation award
Here’s a connection we’re really proud of. The Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) is an global non-profit organization and their only focus is making learning spaces better for students. The Leaf wall is a DIRTT solution that offers unprecedented space flexibility. It looks like a regular DIRTT wall, but easily collapses turning smaller rooms into bigger ones. It also works the other way, turning big spaces into something more intimate. We're thrilled to announce, on October 4 the A4LE gave DIRTT the 2019 solution provider award for our Leaf wall.
Changing the way students learn
The A4LE award was created to recognize solutions that have a real impact on students and the way they learn. The focus was on innovation and sustainability. Those are two things near and dear to DIRTT. We love the Leaf wall. We’ve always thought it was award worthy. But as cool as we think the Leaf wall is, the real exciting thing isn’t what we did to get this award. It’s what this award is going to let other people accomplish.
According to DIRTT sales representative Heather Morgan, the world of education is going through a shift. Among teachers, the discussion is dominated by how pedagogy is evolving. For those that don’t work in schools, it means teachers are changing the way they teach. It used to be that kids filed into rooms, found a row of desks, sat down and learned by rote. But as Heather notes, that’s not how kids work.
“With the advent of STEM and STEAM education, teachers need that ability to move kids around and give them flexibility and individual choice. Their own autonomy. If they want to stand for part of the day and if they want to sit for part of the day they should be able to,” says Heather. Schools invest in a lot of different kinds of furniture. Booths and tables at different heights. But the rooms that they are in don’t live up to what is in them. “What we are still seeing is this lack of ability to change the built environment,” says Heather. “The agility in that built environment hasn’t caught up to the agility that they are pushing for in things like furniture.”
That’s part of the reason why the Leaf wall was singled out for this award.
They're looking for the ability to immediately change the environment to suit how they want to teach that day.Heather Morgan
Leaf gives teachers the chance to easily match their classroom space to suit their teaching style. Within seconds, a Leaf wall can be deployed or retracted. This gives classes a greater sense of freedom.
“Kids are taking engineering in Grade 6 and 7…. And they can’t be problem solvers when they are sitting in straight desks and having someone up at the front. It’s got to be very collaborative. And that is why Leaf stands out.”
Leaf doesn’t just check the innovation boxes for this award. The jurors were also impressed with Leaf's sustainability. If you want to take a standard DIRTT wall and convert it to Leaf, you can do that. All the parts and pieces work together to get repurposed. And it works both ways. If you need to turn a Leaf wall back into a standard wall, it can do that too.
Opening a door to education
Full disclosure: when the team at A4LE gave us the award, they didn’t have the full story. A Leaf wall is inherently versatile, but after we applied for the award, DIRTT announced another innovation. We’ve put a door in a Leaf wall. And we’re rolling it out in early 2020. For those looking for versatility, this makes Leaf even more valuable. Creating a more adaptable learning space is now that much easier.
It’s hard to talk about winning an award like this without sounding like we’re bragging. But we’re just going to lean into it. Here’s the way we see it. This award is a win for everyone. DIRTT won this award in 2017 and in 2018 we were runners-up. Being on the podium three years running is certainly and honor, but big picture there’s more at work.
Being recognized by hundreds of educators for innovation means that more people will learn about the benefits of prefabricated construction. From creating custom spaces that optimize education to delivering sustainable solutions that future proof a classroom, DIRTT is proud of the work we’re doing in education. And the more people know about it, the sooner we can help build the classroom of the future.
This is honestly the first time I’ve gone to one of these conferences and not had to explain what DIRTT was. Now they go, ‘Oh, I love DIRTT.'Heather Morgan
DIRTT Environmental Solutions uses its 3D software to create prefabricated interiors. Each space is tailored to our clients' needs. Manufacturing facilities are located in Phoenix, Savannah and Calgary. DIRTT works with nearly 100 construction partners globally. DIRTT trades on Nasdaq under the symbol “DRTT” and on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “DRT”.