Wayfind Education is currently researching how the process of learning space design can support the activities of place-conscious education. Place-conscious education uses the unique history, natural environment, culture and economy as the setting and content for the learning; it can forefront civic, service-oriented, and school-to-work activities partnering with the surrounding community; and, when taken to a deeper level, guides an academic experience that embraces and incorporates the cultural values, native or heritage language, community participation and leadership, and ways of knowing from the local — often indigenous — context into the content.
Place-conscious education can take place in any type of setting (e.g., rural, suburban, urban). For this research study, two settings were chosen to provide a spectrum of understanding: a rural experience (culture-based learning) on the islands of Hawaiʻi and an urban experience (nature-based learning) in California.
While the coronavirus pandemic has postponed the rural site work until late 2021, research on the urban experience of nature-based learning has begun through an initial partnership with the Co-Harvest Foundation.