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Collaborative Spaces Transform Learning at The International School of Kuala Lumpur

ISKL's new state-of-the-art purpose-built campus provides an ideal environment to reshape how students learn.

by / Published: 17 Dec 2018

Collaborative Spaces Transform Learning at The International School of Kuala Lumpur
Photo: The International School of Kuala Lumpur

The International School of Kuala Lumpur’s (ISKL) recent transition to a new, purpose-built campus in the heart of Kuala Lumpur presented a unique greenfield opportunity to research, design and develop an educational environment that encompasses global best practice in creative, collaborate and constructive learning. The resulting learning spaces and state-of-the-art facilities have enabled ISKL to reshape how their 1,600 plus students, from Early Childhood through to High School learn, create and innovate. 

Dr Norma Hudson, Head of School at ISKL explains the thinking process that underpins the design. “The new campus has been designed with one key objective in mind – how do we best extend and enhance our ability to provide an exceptional education for each and every ISKL student. Designing a campus that reflects the latest in global best practice and educational research has been critical; as international educational experts we are at the leading edge of learning and understand that creating opportunities for students and faculty to collaborate is key to effective learning. 

Together with our team of international specialists in educational architecture, technology and of course, our students and parents, we developed a campus that supports and fosters engagement – creating learning spaces that provide flexibility, inspire ideas and allow opportunities for interaction and connectivity. Collaborative areas, makerspaces and common spaces related to areas of study are integral to the school’s design as well as our inquiry-based curriculum”. 

Dr Hudson continues, “At ISKL we believe education is a life-long transformational journey and our job as educators is to help our students develop a growth mindset so they are prepared for the challenges of the highly complex world that awaits them. Critical thinking, problem solving and the ability to collaborate constructively will become increasingly important and sought after skills, and we believe in developing them from the very beginning at ISKL.”

Photo: The International School Kuala Lumpur

ISKL’s Elementary School students benefit from interactive lessons in unique “makerspaces” – constructive learning spaces which enable students to put thinking into action and experience real world problem solving. For example, skills learned in mathematics are put into practice in the makerspace when designing and measuring a model building or the study of weather patterns brought to life by creating rain gauges from recycled water bottles. Dr Hudson describes the outcome from makerspace classes as an “invaluable learning experience” and notes “the creativity and maturity of ideas from our students when they experience hands-on learning that is integrated into the curriculum is truly inspirational.”

The emphasis on collaborative and creative learning continues throughout Middle and High School and is an essential component of ISKL’s academic curriculum. The Design Technology laboratory in Middle School is named “An Inventors Playground” to capture the essence of the growth mindset that encourages students to learn, create and innovate together. Again, outcomes in Middle School show the effectiveness of interdisciplinary learning in developing thinking strategies, teaching students to analyze information, synthesize input, and meaningfully reflect on their learning. 

Unique commons spaces are also a key feature throughout the School. Purposefully designed for each division, the spaces include separate common areas for specific subjects including world languages, social studies, science and art. The goal of the common spaces is to facilitate learning and interaction outside the classroom and ensure students and faculty are supported no matter how they prefer to research, work and learn. These spaces are particularly valued by ISKL’s High School Students undertaking the International Baccalaureate and/or U.S. Advanced Placement and High School Diploma courses. The purpose-built areas support project-based inquiry and collaborative learning which in turn builds vital skill-sets needed for success at university – wherever in the world students elect to study. 

The specially designed learning spaces are complemented by interactive learning technologies incorporated into the classroom experience to provide students with a campus-wide learning environment designed to stimulate ideas, innovation and creativity. The philosophy of collaboration also extends to the outdoor spaces as well as the indoor.  With over 25 acres of land ISKL students have the space they need to learn, work collaboratively, challenge themselves physically and have fun.

Dr Hudson concludes, “The campus has been designed from the ground-up to support our rich academic programme, extracurricular opportunities and professional faculty that are the heart of any world-class education. ISKL’s ability to deliver exceptional education is a result of our combined strength in each of these areas and it is exciting to provide this in the most advanced international learning environment possible – we welcome new families to come and experience it too.”

Register here to attend ISKL’s Open Day on Thursday, 17 January, 2019 to explore the campus and find out more about ISKL’s exceptional international education.


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