A Year in Review: 2021 at MiEN Company

A Year in Review: 2021 at MiEN Company

Author: Dr. Christina Counts

Every year with the arrival of December, it’s hard to believe the year is actually coming to a close. And this year is no exception. As schools have reopened for in-person learning again in 2021, learning spaces have seen great transformations––from improved technology to better cleaning and disinfection practices to active learning spaces that support greater learning and engagement.

Reflecting on 2021, MiEN Company has had many exciting moments developing new products, creating innovative learning spaces, and working to create helpful resources for schools and districts.

At the beginning of the year, several of our customers were featured in Spaces4Learning and eSchool News discussing their modern K-12 media center spaces, as well a feature article in SmartBrief with tips for creating future ready science labs.

In June, we developed a buyers’ and funding guide: A Guide to Creating Dynamic Active Learning Spaces. This guide outlines the value of designing active learning spaces to promote creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication, as well as resources for utilizing federal stimulus relief funds to transform learning spaces.

On our Learning Studio Blog, we shared valuable insights and research on a variety of topics, such as Inclusive Design to Support Equity and Diversity. We also shared many customer stories this year, highlighting how schools have used MiEN products and design services to solve a variety of challenges and create active learning environments that both inspire and connect.

Our Vice President of Education Dr. Christina Counts was featured in several publications this year discussing computer lab design in Education Market Association’s essentials, active learning classrooms in eSchool News, federal stimulus funding in Spaces4Learning, and easy-to-clean learning surfaces in eSchool News.

Over the summer, we released two white papers focused on designing form and function of future-ready libraries for both university and K-12 applications. These guides asked the questions “Do University Libraries Still Matter?” and “Do School Libraries Still Matter?” These research-driven white papers authored by MiEN’s VP of Education Dr. Christina Counts and Christy James, the library & media services coordinator at Charleston County School District, outline why the answer to those questions is a resounding “yes” and share customer stories about how purpose drives design in library transformations.

Later in the year, we saw more of our customers featured in articles about modern, collaborative learning spaces in Spaces4Learning and designing active learning spaces, and creating learning environments that nurture tomorrow’s workforce in SmartBrief.

In November, MiEN Company introduced the KIO Tinker table, a 360-degree mobile bookcase that doubles as a workstation, and more. This versatile learning station is ideal for makerspaces, active learning environments, and flexibility in multi-use spaces. In addition, the 2021 ED Spaces Learning By Design Product Innovation Awards Program named the KIO Tinker the People’s Choice Award.

Here at MiEN, we have so much to be grateful for this past year. In 2022, we are looking forward to engaging in the valuable exchange of ideas, collaborating on new projects, and exploring new opportunities––including making strides on our new Grand Rapids headquarters.

We hope you all take the time to reflect upon the impact you have made on the students in your life and the support that you have provided to their learning throughout the year. On behalf of all of us at MiEN Company, we want to wish you all a joyful holiday and a happy new year!

Dr. Christina Counts, VP of Strategy and Development for MiEN Environments, is a proven leader with a successful background in transforming learning spaces to modern engaging learning environments. Dr. Counts has worked in education for over 17 years with experience as a classroom teacher, district instructional leader, school administrator, and digital and innovative learning designer. In her most recent position, Christina leads a team of professionals that support schools making the transition to a flexible, collaborative, & student-centered learning space.  She holds a doctorate in K-12 Educational Leadership, National Board-certified, and Google & Apple certified. Dr. Counts envisions a learning space in which educators are empowered to transform education through design, technology and innovative instructional pedagogy to create learners ready for any future!