Archive for Saturday, May 28, 2005

Virtual school’s coffeehouse to put kick in learning

May 28, 2005


Traditional classrooms, with their austere rows of desks and chairs, will be replaced by slick booths, cafe tables and a coffee bar when Lawrence Virtual School's learning cafe opens next week.

It's the latest venture into untraditional schooling for the unique school that offers online courses. And it's the brainchild of Gary Lewis, Lawrence Virtual School's principal.

"We all learn differently, and we all have different space needs," Lewis said.

Crews rolled out carpets in the bright, window-filled room Friday.

The cafe, which has yet to be named, will house 20 laptop computers. It will be open to anyone - the public included - who wants to come, drink some joe and study.

An educator who can offer students instructional support will supervise the learning cafe. It will be a space for students to study or work independently.

Officials want to keep the prices down. Making money isn't the point, Lewis said, and they're not trying to compete with other coffeehouses in Lawrence. The objective is to create a place where people can learn, he said.

Summer hours will be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Lewis said he hoped to extend the hours in the fall.

And the school won't stop with espressos and lattes; Lewis also wants to add arts and music performance studios to the building.

"I'm looking at how you can make learning environments look and feel different," he said.

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