Learning Studio

3 Reasons Why University Libraries Still Matter

3 Reasons Why University Libraries Still Matter Author: Dr. Christina Counts Universities have had to innovate to meet student expectations and school needs, and university libraries and learning spaces play a central role. Librarians have been at the forefront of a shift in the usage of university libraries, reimagining libraries to accommodate new technologies, expanded...

4 Reasons Why School Libraries Still Matter

4 Reasons Why School Libraries Still Matter Author: Dr. Christina Counts From K-12 to higher ed, a shift in school needs and technology has led school libraries to reimagine how they support students and educators in their learning communities. Schools are implementing new learning standards, and many have integrated technology-enabled instruction into their daily curriculum....

Level Up Your Learning Space with These 5 MiEN Products

Level Up Your Learning Space with These 5 MiEN Products Author: Dr. Christina Counts Creating future-ready learning spaces that invite students to explore, spark creativity, and engage in learning doesn’t accidentally happen. Warm inviting environments are carefully curated with functional durable products. Level up your learning space with the DIVIDE, EDGE table, 2G2BT Open Face,...

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Space Matters! Space has the ability to transform teaching, learning, and the culture within a school community. The MiEN Learning Studio is a virtual hub to Read, Learn, & Discover evidence-based modern learning spaces.  Dive in and get inspired to make your vision a reality.

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Integrating Tray Storage Systems into Your Classroom Ecosystem

Integrating Tray Storage Systems into Your Classroom Ecosystem Research has found that if a teacher creates a positive learning environment, they also develop an efficient classroom setting alongside an emotional setting that boosts student performance (Bailey, Beasley, & Swafford, 2014). Designing positive learning spaces takes a combination of several furniture and design elements that affect...

Cumberland Trace Elementary School Creates Active Teaching & Learning Spaces

Cumberland Trace Elementary School Creates Active Teaching & Learning SpacesWorking with MiEN, the school outfits its newly-constructed building with seating, tables and fixtures that support active teaching and learning for groups of all sizes. When Cumberland Trace Elementary School in Bowling Green, Ken., set out to construct a new school building this year, it wanted...

Inclusive Design to Support Equity and Diversity

Inclusive Design to Support Equity and Diversity Diversity in universities is rapidly expanding, and the current generation is known as the most diverse generation in history in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, and more. So many of the needs of students have changed over the past couple of decades, with many students being...

3 Reasons Why University Libraries Still Matter

3 Reasons Why University Libraries Still Matter Author: Dr. Christina Counts Universities have had to innovate to meet student expectations and school needs, and university libraries and learning spaces play a central role. Librarians have been at the forefront of a shift in the usage of university libraries, reimagining libraries to accommodate new technologies, expanded...

4 Reasons Why School Libraries Still Matter

4 Reasons Why School Libraries Still Matter Author: Dr. Christina Counts From K-12 to higher ed, a shift in school needs and technology has led school libraries to reimagine how they support students and educators in their learning communities. Schools are implementing new learning standards, and many have integrated technology-enabled instruction into their daily curriculum....

5 Benefits of Esports in Schools

5 Benefits of Esports in Schools As the esports industry has grown, academic esports teams have also become more common as an extracurricular activity. Students of all backgrounds are attracted to esports for a variety of reasons, but many are drawn in by the chance to compete while playing some of their favorite video games....

5 Functions of Active Learning Classrooms

5 Functions of Active Learning Classrooms Active learning classrooms are more than just learning spaces outfitted with technology. These engaging and dynamic learning environments support new pedagogy, active learning, and students’ development of essential skills. Implementing active learning spaces puts a greater focus on creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration in schools and supports modern...

Modern Food Court Design Ideas: For Schools, Universities, and Offices

Modern Food Court Design Ideas: For Schools, Universities, and Offices Author: Dr. Christina Counts Modern food courts and cafeterias in K-12 schools, universities, and office spaces have transformed into places for more than just eating. While these spaces offer quick and convenient meal options for busy students and employees, they also provide practical spaces for...

5 Steps to Establish a Collaborative Learning Environment When Designing New Learning Facilities

5 Steps to Establish a Collaborative Learning Environment When Designing New Learning Facilities Not all schools have designated spaces for collaborative learning, so sometimes student collaboration must take place in the hallway, cafeteria, or other makeshift spaces. While finding multiple ways to use a learning space can be great for space efficiency, designing intentional collaborative...

How Modern Learning Environments Prepare Students for the Future

How Modern Learning Environments Prepare Students for the Future Although workplace design has changed vastly over the years, the traditional classroom has remained the standard for many schools. Many of the jobs we’re preparing students for didn’t even exist 20 years ago, which means the learning spaces built prior to the early-2000s are failing to...

MiEN Company Releases New Guide on Creating Active Learning Spaces

MiEN Company Releases New Guide on Creating Active Learning Spaces GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – June 21, 2021 – During the pandemic, schools rapidly adopted technology and flexible learning models so they could better support students. Now, many district administrators are deciding to keep those flexible models when the pandemic ends. To help educators make the...

Level Up Your Learning Space with These 5 MiEN Products

Level Up Your Learning Space with These 5 MiEN Products Author: Dr. Christina Counts Creating future-ready learning spaces that invite students to explore, spark creativity, and engage in learning doesn’t accidentally happen. Warm inviting environments are carefully curated with functional durable products. Level up your learning space with the DIVIDE, EDGE table, 2G2BT Open Face,...

5 Reasons to Implement Active Learning Environments

5 Reasons to Implement Active Learning Environments Author: Dr. Christina Counts There is a clear shift from traditional pedagogy to a focus on creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and social-emotional learning. As the demands of college and careers have also changed, these skills have become critical for students to be successful in their future endeavors. Active...

4 Benefits of Active Learning Environments

4 Benefits of Active Learning Environments Traditional classroom design is in transition, with the integration of technology, personalized learning, collaboration, and the implementation of a learner-centered approach being at the core of the conversation. This shift in design mirrors the needs of the modern workplace, helping to prepare students for next-generation careers and empowering them...

How to Furnish Classroom Learning Zones

How to Furnish Classroom Learning Zones Author: Dr. Christina Counts We recently posted a blog about creating classroom learning zones to promote engagement and meet the diverse needs of students. Creating organized zones for students to engage with different learning environments and types of content can support a wide variety of teaching and learning approaches,...

5 Ideas for Federal Stimulus Relief Funds to Transform Learning Spaces

5 Ideas for Federal Stimulus Relief Funds to Transform Learning Spaces Author: Dr. Christina Counts The Corona Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes a set of plans and funds that aim to help schools rebuild with an emphasis on equity, classroom safety, social and emotional well-being, and academic success. The CARES act provides...

JetCo Federal’s New Collaborative Workspace is Inspiring and Motivating

JetCo Federal’s New Collaborative Workspace is Inspiring and MotivatingGovernment contractor works with MiEN to design a new, inviting space for its growing workforce. Founded in 2007, JetCo Federal is a supply chain management and logistics firm that works with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Focused on developing efficient warehouses, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based organization...

3 Key Elements of Future Ready Science Labs

3 Key Elements of Future Ready Science Labs Gone are the old, stuffy, and institutional-looking labs of the past, and now in their place are bright and airy future ready spaces that support collaboration and student-centered learning. Students benefit from working in spaces that are designed for their comfort and to support their learning, and––in...

5 Classroom Learning Zones to Promote Engagement

5 Classroom Learning Zones to Promote Engagement When designing a classroom, creating differentiated classroom learning zones is a useful way to personalize the learning environment to meet the diverse needs of students. This strategy can be used with all age levels to organize learning spaces into established zones where students can engage with different learning...

Chicago Middle School Transforms Older Building into a Collaborative Learning Space

Chicago Middle School Transforms Older Building into a Collaborative Learning SpaceWorking with MiEN, this top-ranking middle school in Illinois turns an older building into a modern learning space. Taking older structures and turning them into modern, collaborative learning spaces is no easy task, but some schools are facing the project head-on and achieving their goals...

A Modern, Engaging Classroom for the Workforce of the Future

A Modern, Engaging Classroom for the Workforce of the FutureMySchool@Kent overhauls its learning space to meet the needs of its learners and help them prepare for success in the workforce of the future. A vital program for the Kent ISD in Grand Rapids, Mich., MySchool@Kent provides an engaging, world-class blended learning environment that supports all...

Florida Charter School Develops a New, Highly-Collaborative School Building

Florida Charter School Develops a New, Highly-Collaborative School BuildingHillsborough County Public Schools A part of the Hillsborough County Public Schools in Tampa, Fla., Literacy Leadership Technology (LLT) Academy was founded in 2005 with the goal of creating a place for middle school students to focus on technology. It would later add Franklin Covey’s “Leader in...

5 Office Design Trends for a Post-Pandemic World

5 Office Design Trends for a Post-Pandemic World Author: Dr. Christina Counts COVID-19 has changed everything about our lives, from the way we shop, to the way we interact with people, to the way we work. In particular, COVID-19 has ushered in the remote working trend, with some analysts predicting that 25 to 30 percent...

4 Office Furniture Trends in 2021

4 Office Furniture Trends in 2021 Author: Dr. Christina Counts Each year, new office furniture trends arise, and while the past year has been far from ordinary, 2021 will debut unique furniture trends. This year, office design and furniture trends will be centered around health and safety, as well as easing employees back into working...

St. Charles Catholic School Receives New Furniture Donation

Community Donor Transformed Classroom for 21st Century Learning Greenville, MI— 2/16/2021 —   Some Students at St. Charles Catholic Schools are learning in a new “state of the art” classroom, thanks to a gift of new furniture.   It was donated by MiEN Environments, an educational furniture manufacturer based in Grand Rapids, and The Currie...

Q&A with Jonathan and Ryanne: Top 5 Favorite MiEN Products

Q&A with Jonathan and Ryanne: Top 5 Favorite MiEN Products Welcome to the MiEN Environments Top 5 Series, where our regional directors, account managers, and designers share their favorite MiEN products. Here we will breakdown the value our employees and our customers find in the solutions designed with specific products and why those products meet...

Designing Better Learning Environments for Active Learning

Designing Better Learning Environments for Active Learning Author: Dr. Christina Counts When designing learning environments, it’s important to consider how spaces can support active learning. Active learning is an approach to learning in which students are engaged as active participants in the learning process through investigation, discussion, problem-solving, and collaboration. The active learning model allows...

The Effect of Learning Environments on Behavior and Wellbeing

The Effect of Learning Environments on Behavior and Wellbeing Author: Dr. Christina Counts Numerous studies show that physical spaces have a direct effect on mood and behavior (Uncapher, 2016).  Factors such as comfort, security, serenity, and levels of distraction all have an impact on how spaces make us feel and how we act in these...

The Effect of Color on Learning: How 4 Different Colors Affect Student Moods and Behaviors

The Effect of Color on Learning: How 4 Different Colors Affect Student Moods and Behaviors Author: Dr. Christina Counts Choosing the color palette for a space is important––being exposed to certain colors influences different behaviors, mood, and perceptions ("Color Psychology: How Do Colors Affect Mood & Emotions?", 2020). That being the case, choosing the color...

Repurposing Learning Spaces on College Campuses

Repurposing Learning Spaces on College Campuses Author: Dr. Christina Counts Repurposing Learning Spaces on College Campuses Over the past few decades, American colleges and universities have grown their campuses and facilities exponentially, many constructing brand new, expensive buildings to attract more new students. While many of these state-of-the-art facilities add significant value to student experience...

Building from the Ground Up at Belmont Elementary School

Building from the Ground Up at Belmont Elementary SchoolWith MiEN as its space design partner, Hillsborough County Public Schools creates a modern media center for its brand-new elementary school. On track to outpace the nation’s population growth between now and 2024, Florida’s Hillsborough County is growing by 8.7% annually (compared to 3.9% for the U.S....

Q&A with Christian and Claire: Top 5 Favorite MiEN Products

Q&A with Christian and Claire: Top 5 Favorite MiEN Products Welcome to the MiEN Environments Top 5 Series, where our regional directors, account managers, and designers share their favorite MiEN products. Here we will breakdown the value our employees and our customers find in the solutions designed with specific products and why those products meet...

MiEN Helps Jasper County Schools Design & Outfit its New CATE Facility

MiEN Helps Jasper County Schools Design & Outfit its New CATE FacilityFrom comfortable furniture to vibrant color schemes to charging stations, Jasper County Schools’ new CATE facility is an inviting space that’s durable enough to stand the test of time. A believer in the value of hands-on educational experiences, Jasper County Schools has had a...

A Year in Review: 2020 at MiEN Company

A Year in Review: 2020 at MiEN Company Author: Dr. Christina Counts Every year as we come upon the end of December, we like to look back to reflect upon all that we have been able to accomplish throughout the year. 2020 has been a year like no other, with COVID-19, social movements, and a...

Not Your Typical Science Lab Makeover

The Living Room Concept at Deer Path Middle School Lake Forest School District works with MiEN to rewrite the playbook on how to build out a modern, collaborative middle school science lab. It’s been nearly three years since a group of administrators and directors at Deer Path Middle School first sat down and planned out...

MiEN Company Releases White Paper on How Flexible Furniture Creates Active Learning Environments

MiEN Company Releases White Paper on How Flexible Furniture Creates Active Learning Environments GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Dec. 15, 2020 – Districts and schools are increasingly adopting active learning practices in order to address businesses’ demand for employees capable of creative and collaborative work. But one commonly overlooked factor in this transition is classroom design....

Designing Community Planning Spaces for Educators

Designing Community Planning Spaces for Educators Author: Dr. Christina Counts Collaboration in schools is essential to create rich and productive learning experiences that are inclusive. Collaborating allows both students and teachers alike to learn from one another and build on each other’s ideas to gain deeper understanding of complex subjects and develop creative concepts. When...

Q&A with Kim and Marissa: Top 5 Favorite MiEN Products

Q&A with Kim and Marissa: Top 5 Favorite MiEN Products Welcome to the MiEN Environments Top 5 Series, where our regional directors, account managers, and designers share their favorite MiEN products. Here we will breakdown the value our employees and our customers find in the solutions designed with specific products and why those products meet...

Dare County School Builds Amazing New Media Center After Hurricane Dorian

Dare County School Builds Amazing New Media Center After Hurricane DorianWhen Cape Hatteras Secondary School’s library was destroyed by a hurricane, the school turned to MiEN to help it come back even stronger and better. In September 2019, Hurricane Dorian ripped through Dare County, N.C. with a vengeance, leaving behind a trail of destruction that...

Creating Flexible Environments in a Learner-Centered Classroom

Creating Flexible Environments in a Learner-Centered Classroom Author: Kevin Ecarius Along with the implementation of technology and new learning approaches, there has also been a shift away from traditional classroom design and toward more flexible learning environments. These flexible environments deviate from the status quo by focusing more on active learning, collaboration, and self-led learning....

Creating Student Centers Focused on Optimizing Student Success Beyond High School

Creating Student Centers Focused on Optimizing Student Success Beyond High School The Education Foundation of Sarasota County works with MiEN to develop innovative student success centers for high school students attending Sarasota County Schools. Focused on supporting Sarasota County Schools’ students, teachers, and schools, the Education Foundation of Sarasota County is a non-profit that works...

What Does a Modern Computer Lab Look Like?

What Does a Modern Computer Lab Look Like? Author: Dr. Christina Counts The prevalence of personal devices in the classroom has resulted in the computer labs of the past losing much of their value as spaces for digital and online learning. Laptops and tablets have made it possible for students to take digital learning anywhere––both...

A Seat for Everyone and More: New Products for Flexible Spaces

A Seat for Everyone and More: New Products for Flexible Spaces MiEN offers a wide variety of seating options that can accommodate use in many spaces––from K-12 and higher education classrooms and common areas to corporate and in-home offices. This week, MiEN introduces five new seating options which can be paired with MiEN’s vast range...

Districtwide Modernization Project Transforms Media Centers into Activity Hubs

Districtwide Modernization Project Transforms Media Centers into Activity HubsHere’s how one 10-school district in Michigan worked with MiEN to transform its aging media centers into modern, active learning spaces that all students are excited to be a part of. Like many school districts, Midland Public Schools in Michigan had to come to terms with the...

Classroom Design with SEL in Mind

Classroom Design with SEL in Mind Social-emotional learning (SEL) is a critical skill set that all K-12 students should learn and master. SEL competencies include self-awareness, self-management, decision-making, social awareness, and relationship skills and give students the ability to manage emotions, set and achieve goals, create positive relationships, and more. These skills help students build...

Designing Learning Spaces for Today’s Students with Their Futures in Mind

Designing Learning Spaces for Today’s Students with Their Futures in Mind Author: Dr. Christina Counts The jobs of the future are much different from what students experience in the classroom on a daily basis. Technology will change and become more complex, working in the office will be a completely different experience after COVID-19, and students...

Cleaning & Disinfecting to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in Learning Spaces

Cleaning & Disinfecting to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in Learning Spaces As students, faculty, and staff return to school this fall and beyond, there is a new emphasis on the importance of cleaning and disinfecting surfaces throughout schools in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. While students and educators will be...

Flexible, Modular Classroom Spaces Designed for Teachers and Scholars

Flexible, Modular Classroom Spaces Designed for Teachers and ScholarsCareer-based high school in Kentucky pulls out all of the stops when creating modular learning spaces for its new, 180,000sf facility Focused on providing education and experience in career fields, Boone County Schools’ Ignite Institute is creating a reality where industry and education work together to ensure...

Five Advantages to a 1:1 Learning Environment

Five Advantages to a 1:1 Learning Environment Technology is an increasingly important part of a successful learning environment, particularly with the recent expansion of blended learning to K-12 curriculum all over the U.S. While schools have brought technology into the classroom with computer labs and laptop and tablet carts for many years now, it’s becoming...

5 Ways to Redesign a Media Center During COVID-19

5 Ways to Redesign a Media Center During COVID-19 Author: Dr. Christina Counts If the global pandemic sidelined your plans for creating a very inviting, collaborative, nurturing media center space, get your vision back on track with these five success tips. As central hubs of school activity, media centers are the places that students, teachers,...

5 Steps to Designing a New Esports Space

5 Steps to Designing a New Esports Space Academic esports, or competitive video gaming, is a unique extracurricular that has recently taken hold in the K-12 education space. While video games have had a history of bad reputations for distracting children, academic esports have had an amazingly positive impact on students of many ages, benefitting...

Dr. Christina Counts Earns Distinction as an Accredited Learning Environments Planner

Dr. Christina Counts Earns Distinction as an Accredited Learning Environments Planner Our very own VP of Education for MiEN Environments, Dr. Christina Counts, has recently received the Accredited Learning Environments Planner (ALEP) designation, a mark of excellence developed to reflect the knowledge, skills, and abilities of a competent educational facility planner. Before joining MiEN in...

Active Learning Through Tech-Friendly Spaces

Active Learning Through Tech-Friendly Spaces Learning can and should happen everywhere in a school––from classrooms to common spaces to the cafeteria––and flexible learning spaces support this objective. But once you’ve created responsive learning spaces through layout and furniture design, what can you do to further support learning throughout your school? One way to support learning...

Slate Run Elementary Implements Unique, Flexible Furniture in its Brand-New School Building

Slate Run Elementary Implements Unique, Flexible Furniture in its Brand-New School Building Working with MiEN, this Indiana school took two years to build a brand-new facility that supports collaborative learning, small-group instruction, and project-based learning. Outfitting an existing school building with modern furnishings is one thing, but taking a ground-up approach in a brand-new facility...

Designing Responsive Learning Spaces Throughout a School

Designing Responsive Learning Spaces Throughout a School Author: Dr. Christina Counts To best support learning, classrooms need to be responsive and flexible to fit schools’ changing needs and uses. Responsive learning spaces adapt to the needs of a variety of subjects, grade levels, and students. These flexible learning environments encourage creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration,...

Shifting Learning Space Design to Combat COVID-19: 7 Design Tips

Shifting Learning Space Design to Combat COVID-19: 7 Design Tips Author: Dr. Christina Counts Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, learning space design has had to adapt and grow to create healthy and functional learning spaces. One of the key components to safe, healthy learning space design is creating flexible learning spaces that can serve multiple...

New Albany High School Uses Creative Multipurpose Room Design to Maximize its Space

New Albany High School Uses Creative Multipurpose Room Design to Maximize its Space This Indiana high school worked with MiEN to create an extremely versatile multipurpose space that teachers and students love When New Albany High School got the opportunity to transform its existing media center into a multipurpose space, it immediately surveyed all of...

Leveraging the Maker Movement to Build Tech-Savvy Students Ready for the Future Workforce

Leveraging the Maker Movement to Build Tech-Savvy Students Ready for the Future Workforce Author: Dr. Christina Counts The maker movement is a game changer reinventing the rules for innovation in the world of crafters, hackers, & tinkers! The current generation of students is glued to their phones, iPads, computers, gaming consoles and realistically, we adults...

West Rowan Elementary School Creates Modern, Engaging Learning Spaces

West Rowan Elementary Creates Modern, Engaging Learning Spaces When Woodleaf Elementary and Cleveland Elementary consolidated to form West Rowan Elementary School in 2019, both predecessor schools were already proponents of alternative classroom seating as part of the instructional process. Students had various seating options to choose from. “It wasn’t all just desks and chairs,” says...

Georgetown High School Transforms its Media Center into a Student-Centric Space

Georgetown High School Transforms its Media Center into a Student-Centric Space A two-year plan to upgrade an aging media center culminates into a space where flexible furniture supports a wide range of academia and social activities on campus. With about 950 students in grades 9-12, Georgetown High School in South Carolina was in the planning...

Designing for Healthy and Functional Learning Spaces

Designing for Healthy and Functional Learning Spaces Author: Dr. Christina Counts As the 2019-2020 school year wraps up remotely for schools all over the country, district leaders and educators are turning their attention to the fall 2020 semester and what it will look like when students return to the classroom. Schools and districts are focused...

Technology for Good is Inspiring Kids Across Maker Education

Technology for Good is Inspiring Kids Across Maker Education By Michael Hurley This past December in a packed auditorium at Peck Elementary School on Chicago’s southwest side, a caped crusader stood before several hundred 3rd and 4th grade students and asked, “What is your superpower?” She said that hers was the ability to create a...

How to Create a Makerspace At Home During a Pandemic

Creating a Makerspace At Home During a Pandemic With the school year wrapping up remotely and many summer camps, daycare centers, and public parks closed due to coronavirus, parents are wondering how to keep their children entertained without resorting to hours and hours of screen time. Encouraging unstructured learning time through creativity and play may...

What is a Makerspace and Why Do They Still Matter Today?

What is a Makerspace and Why Do They Still Matter? Many educators are looking for ways to bring more hands-on experiences to their students to improve STEM skills, critical thinking, and creativity. Often, this goal can be achieved by designing a space in schools where students can explore their creativity through engaging activities. For most...

Cleaning and Disinfecting Surface Materials During COVID-19

The Role of Surface Materials in Cleaning and Disinfecting Schools During COVID-19 Author: Dr. Christina Counts With only three and half months until many U.S. schools are scheduled to begin a new school year, American students, teachers, and staff are wondering what the new normal will be in classrooms to keep COVID-19 from a resurgence...

Meet our new expert in Learning Space Design, Dr. Counts!

Meet the New MiEN Educational Expert in Learning Space Design, Dr. Counts! Dr. Christina Counts, VP of Education for MiEN is a proven leader with a successful background in transforming learning spaces to modern engaging learning environments.  In her current position, Christina leads a team of professionals that support schools making the transition to a flexible,...