[The content of this article has been produced by our advertising partner.] When it comes to shaping behaviors and fostering positive learning, the space in which students do their learning can have a profound impact on their learning outcomes. This philosophy was brought to life at a recent “Girls Go Tech” workshop co-hosted by The Women’s Foundation, an NGO dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls in Hong Kong, and Steelcase; an industry leader in creating great experiences in the Learning and Work Spaces through architecture, technology, furniture and design services. Launched in 2015, the “Girls Go Tech” (GGT) programme was put together by The Women’s Foundation to encourage female secondary school students from underprivileged backgrounds to pursue traditionally male-dominated STEM-related subjects. By connecting the students to various opportunities and stakeholders in the community, students are exposed to STEM subject matters and are given a hands-on opportunity to develop their self-confidence, problem solving skills, creativity and collaboration in order to help maximise their career options while achieving their academic and career goals. The most recent of these events was a visit hosted by Steelcase at their WorkLife space in Central, where students were invited to put their thinking caps on to conceptualize how to use technology and space to create a design learning space that offered better learning experiences. “Many of these girls lack confidence because they don’t have a chance at these experiences, so for some of our participants, this could be the first time they have even been to Central to go to a corporate partner’s office,” explained Connie Cheung, Programme Director for The Women’s Foundation. “This is a real eye-opening opportunity for them to visualize how technology is used in different industries.” Of course, when it comes to nurturing a design thinking approach amongst students, there is no better place to experience this than at Steelcase’s very own office where its design concepts and philosophies are brought to life in a welcoming environment that showcases how technology, pedagogy and space come together. “Twelve years ago, we started our research into active learning and found that learning is at its most active when it is in the middle of pedagogy, space and technology, “explained Ambroise D’Hauteville, Learning and Education Group Director at Steelcase Asia Pacific. “When you understand the pedagogy, which are the academic goals and what is driving the kids, then you add on the technology that is always evolving and fuels that, and the space which shapes learning behaviour, then bingo! You’ve got active learning.” Indeed, the participants and both organisers saw this come to life as students who took part in the event experienced being at the very centre pedagogy, space and technology. During the event, students were tasked to create a learning space that would improve student learning. With no restrictions and limits on their creativity, the students were asked to draw inspiration from the environment to come with creative ideas that focused on a human-centric design. “They had to really think from the user’s perspective and they injected a lot of ideas such as moveable chairs and talked about power panels and how to use technology to save energy,” said Gladys Cheung, Senior Programme Manager from The Women’s Foundation. The goal of the event was to give students a real-life opportunity to go through the entire design thinking process. So, students had to think, have a point of view, make a plan and then implement the plan through a four-step design thinking process. Once they had done that, they had to deliver a presentation to the group on how to implement the plan. “The greatest thing is that they had to choreograph the whole thing. In this challenging world today, you need to do that. You can’t just stand up in front of people to share your ideas, you need to capture their attention and space can support that, and the kids thought about how to use the space to capture their audiences,” Ambroise further explained. The event proved to be a roaring success with students eagerly participating in the process as they quickly came to the realisation of the power of space and design and how technology interplays with that. But what struck the event organisers the most was the fact that wellbeing and green design consistently came up as a theme for all the participant groups. “When you look at the designs the young ladies made, one thing that echoed to me was that every single one of them had a wellbeing area,” said Majid ”MJ” Jimenez, Regional Manager at Steelcase Learning. “Another, was the green aspect, we saw designs featuring green walls and terraces, and it really showed us how the kids and students are much more advanced than us,” Ambroise said. MJ also explained that the success of the event and the designs created by the students is the consistent and proven result of the manifestation and power of having a good work space. With a collaborative set and a spatial environment that allows people to think freely. “I doubt these designs could be completed so quickly if they were just standing in front of a blackboard in a traditional setting”, said MJ With the success of the event, Steelcase hopes to continue to foster a passion and love for lifelong learning in the STEM space. It plans to continue its partnership with The Women’s Foundation to create more of these opportunities for female students and it also wants to send a strong message about inclusivity. “Learning is everywhere and it’s for everybody, so we hope that through “Girls Go Tech”, we can talk about this and unlock students’ full potential by giving them this space to work in,” said Ambroise. And MJ couldn’t agree more. Adding that: “Students need the safety of space, so all space they learn in, should be inclusive, whether if someone prefers to sit, or prefers to stand; or if they learn better walking around, space should always cater to how they can best learn", he said.