Welcome to our OER on the
Classroom of the Future!
We have structured our OER to specifically examine the “classroom of the future” from the perspective of Canadian K-12 public education occurring between now and 2050. We begin by exploring the past and present of the classroom before moving on to consider what the classroom of the future might look like.
While we encourage visitors to proceed linearly through each subpage in order, users can also feel free to explore whichever subtopics interest them the most and participate in the corresponding Padlets. We also strongly encourage you to check out our 3D model on the “Future Classroom Space” page, as this is us “showing” rather than telling you what we envision for the classroom of the future!
Once you have completed your exploration of our OER, we would greatly appreciate your reflection on these 3 questions:
- #1 Can technology create accessibility and equity to all who are seeking quality education? Why or why not?
- #2 Considering the changes that have occurred in education, what is one thing you’d like to see in the classroom of the future? Perhaps begin with an aspect of school that you wish you could have experienced, related to educational technology.
- #3 In our OER, we decided that in the near future, a physical space will be essential given the social-emotional nature of the teacher-student relationship. Could you envision a further future without a physical classroom whatsoever? If not, what do you envision?
78 responses to “Week 10: The Classroom of the Future”
Hello, team classrooms of the future, well done! The history of classrooms is so interesting.
In response to question #1 Can technology create accessibility and equity for all who are seeking quality education? Why or why not? When used effectively, technology can greatly contribute to more accessibility and equity in education. It can remove obstacles to learning materials, support students where they are, and provide educators more insight into the learning environments they’re creating. Technology alone, without effective use, has limitations. Internet access in communities with Wi-Fi restraints is a concern, as is appropriate and timely professional development opportunities for educators and students. Yes, technology can help bridge the gaps in accessibility and equity, however, without the skills needed to use technology its effects will be confined.
Thank you for responding to reflection question #1. I agree that a “prerequisite” to implementing technology to improve and create accessibility and equity for all would be for those using it, to have the skills to effectively implement it. You named some contexts such as “obstacles to learning materials, support students where they are, and provide educators more insight into the learning environments they’re creating.” These can be quite broad areas, each within themselves. Can you provide an example to illustrate one and then also an example of the skill or skill set needed to effectively implement the technology so that the outcome would be a high degree of accessibility and equity?
Lastly, do you have further thoughts in regard to the next two reflection questions?
Hi Cindy, meeting students where they are at and moving them forward or differentiating and student-focused instruction can be bolstered using technology-rich classrooms. For example, having students use a laptop or tablet and also a reading app/software allows the students to read good fit books, however, requires both the teacher and the student to know how to navigate the hardware and the software. If the students are using the technology at home then parents or guardians would also need training. For providing educators more insight into the learning environments they’re creating I’m referring to data. Recording and analyzing data so teachers and school districts can make informed decisions.
Thanks for your reply, Meagan and providing examples. Speaking from an educator’s point of view, I would hope that when/if a parent/guardian implements the use of an application that enhances the learning process of a child, they would be resourceful in learning how to use such an application (hardware and software logistics). There are plenty of resources such as documentation and “Google” to help do this and it’s a wonder how quickly information can be found. As for the analytic of data as a resource to inform educators – I would imagine this would require applications that collect and analyse data and then it would be nice if the data could be presented in a teacher/educator-friendly way. And many LMS’s do provide data analytics. I think that if a school/organization reached a point where this was the norm i.e. evaluation data analytic to inform practice, it would reflect a very keen, technology-rich community of learners which would be great! Have you experienced a group of educators who are keen to consult such analytics to reflect on their use of educational technology?
I completely agree with Meagan’s response above. During the pandemic teachers often sent home requirements for children to use math and reading apps. This was fine for kids who were proficient with using a computer, or kids whose parents had the time and knowledge to get them started, but in many cases this was not what was happening. My father is a “Big Brother” to a kid living in a very difficult home situation. That kid was not opening any of those apps and his parents didn’t have the time nor interest to help him. His only ‘education’ during the pandemic were video chats with my dad where they would read together. Although this was made possible by the school providing this child with a computer, his internet wasn’t great and even these chats were often cut short. It’s one thing to require teachers to update their knowledge on the ever-more digitalized education options, but it’s entirely another problem if we want this to take place in the home.
Hi Hayley, I’m sure the situation you describe is not unfamiliar to K-12 educators. A few others have echoed similar thoughts: that school is (or should be) providing much more than just the classroom to learners. Students need to “go to school” to experience and learn social skills, to get extra help when they need it, and to be exposed to an environment where their learning is the priority. Certainly, it is possible, and probably becoming only MORE possible, for all of these tasks to occur online, but it is not as simple as chopping out the existing classroom and slotting in a virtual reality! It is interesting (and perhaps a bit daunting) to consider how these shifts, if/when they occur, will impact learners.
This is definitely a common story from my conversations with educators! I wonder if this becomes an opportunity for AI to intervene in these situations; notice that the device/program isn’t being used, communicate that (somewhere), and enact a response. Perhaps it is an email to student/family/mentor with a “how-to” guide, or an email to the teacher to follow up with the student. In a tumultuous time that it has been the past few years for school communities at large, these extra nudges would have been well appreciated I think as teachers felt out of sorts or not within their usual routine and students the same. This is of course only works where the right infrastructure is in place for students to make use of the technology, which again falls back on the systems in place trying to keep up with the dynamic situation they found themselves in. A push to ensure that all students attending public institutions have steady internet at home would be a wonderful start; many boards are starting to pursue the idea of 1:1 device:student ratios for their Junior to Senior students, a steady internet at home is a logical starting point before we start sending home added tools etc. With the right systems in place these types of things aren’t “another thing” on someones list, but previously taken care of so the next, more meaningful steps can be taken to ensure positive outcomes.
The other point of interest here is that parents absolutely should be receiving training in some way for any equipment or tools that students are being shown as a means of assistive. This training not only encircles the student with helpful adults, but it also extends parents knowledge and perhaps further empowers them to support their child without having had that information. The more we think about futuristic classrooms, we have to think about how far that classroom extends; does it extend home, to the coffee shops and libraries that students visit? Should it? Virtual Reality is a great way to extend this, but we also have to think about what spaces are actually setup appropriately to accommodate this, thinking of my favourite places in a city – the library!
#2 Considering the changes that have occurred in education, what is one thing you’d like to see in the classroom of the future? Perhaps begin with an aspect of school that you wish you could have experienced, related to educational technology.
A new build school offers many optimal design features that older buildings do not have. One element that I hadn’t given much thought to prior to the pandemic is ventilation, and ensuring classrooms have proper air exchange and air quality systems in place. Physical and emotional health should also be thought of when designing a space; having movement stations, or stationary bikes, for example, would provide students with the opportunity to move more throughout the day. Green schools, as you mentioned with LEED, are more sustainable with rainwater collection for toilets, and gardens for harvesting and learning about plants are all designs that afford many benefits and opportunities. My students have often noted that entertainment such as having an air hockey table, or gaming console would be “fun” additions to the classroom! Social considerations, such as collaborative workstations, and opportunities for communication and interaction among peers are important as well.
You made a good point about ventilation, Meagan. Some of the older schools (that are over 100 years old) need a lot of improvement in this area. I still remember being in one of these older schools and on the warmer days, the computer lab was so much warmer than other areas in the school! Collaborative work stations for social interaction and group learning would be fantastic as well!
For question #3 Could you envision a further future without a physical classroom whatsoever? If not, what do you envision? I have a hard time envisioning a future without a classroom at all. As advanced as technology is and the more that we can do virtually, doesn’t mean we should! Online is just not the same as in-person, while hybrid learning and flexibility make sense in several settings, there are and will continue to be many situations where place-based and face-to-face interactions offer something social that can’t be replicated (in my opinion).
You made a good point here. I also think there will always be a need for space. More importantly, I think the building of positive relationships needs to be at the forefront of education and space/technology are dictated by this thought. During the pandemic, we have seen how people became “Zoom fatigued” and personally, the non-verbal communication that is missed via computer video can be both annoying and tiring, impeding the quality of communication you get in-person. Have you worked in settings where the online medium has become tiring and impeded communication? I think of technical issues and the limitations brought on by technology that has frustrated teachers and students more than it has helped.
1. I’m not sure if it can be, although the internet has made high-quality ubiquitous learning a lot easier, it still depends on whether or not students are able to have access to the internet and have the devices to use it through. This can be aided by company/personal donations of portable internet devices to people who cannot afford or gain access to it due to not having good signals in their rural areas for example such as through Starlink that recently donated their satellite based portable internet to the people of Ukraine in crisis or through programs such as T-Mobile’s Project 10 Million that seeks to offer free internet for up to 5 years with reduced cost for devices to those who are in need.
#2 Perhaps begin with an aspect of school that you wish you could have experienced, related to educational technology.
I would love for VR and MR to be a part of the future in education as there are so many ways students who may not learn best by reading and writing for example can gain knowledge of sometimes complex concepts through this medium.
#3 Could you envision a further future without a physical classroom whatsoever? If not, what do you envision?I still envision a future classroom similar to your prediction in your OER with walls and other students but, with integrated technology such as AI assisted reporting and Chatbot assistants to help out alongside a lot of project-based learning essentially for that social-based nature. However, I can see how after-school tutoring or remote areas would benefit from distance-based learning alongside technology to aid in the lack of social opportunities of face-to-face learning such as social media (child-friendly of course), project-based gaming projects for example and peer interaction (perhaps having the remote students appear as iPads that work with groups together in the class) or through VR classrooms.
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Hi Alexis! Thank you for your thoughtful response. I recently reviewed a couple of research papers that reported on how students are more prone to use technology at school when they have access to use technology at home/areas outside of school. So, you hit the nail on the head when you mention the pre-requisite of students have access to 1. the internet which gives way to using educational technology on the World Wide Web and 2. have access to the devices. This raises the question of equity. If technology is still very far fetched for many children/families, will billionaire tech moguls like Elon Musk and huge communication companies use their wealth to help? Or does technology need to enter a completely new wave in order for it to be equally and completely accessible to all? I would love VR and MR to be in the classrooms, too, Alexis! What I imagine is just Sci-Fi right now and most schools would not allot the budget for a version of it. I also think some parents would disagree having certain XR implemented in the classroom for their own, personal reasons. Lastly, yes – I also agree that those in remote areas would benefit from distance-based learning. One thing to keep in mind is that remote areas are sometimes serviced differently by the communication companies e.g. no Fibre-Optik options for internet speed and/or they are on an older generation/version of telecommunications. I also think of the Reservations on which Indigenous Peoples live where they have very limited resources and (sometimes no) services but also the Indigenous perspective of “space”. How does technology and space in the classroom play the part in Indigeneity? Some food for thought! 🙂
Hey Cindy, the premise of Starlink is to be able to service rural areas and remote places with internet through their satellite signals rather than traditional internet cables. So this may help remote populations including indigenous communities to get internet but, as we discussed without the intitiatives mentioned above from companies, schools and donations providing devices to use internet on, this would serve useless. Also, if overcrowding occurs on these satellites then, this would also hinder the connection unless more are launched in coming years therefore continuing inequity in terms of access to education for all.
Thank you for clarifying that, Alexis!
Hi Team, Amazing OER – I especially enjoyed the piece on Indigenous learning, and the 3D render of the past, present and future classrooms. I will get the call rolling with question #1 and come back later this week to answer the others. #1 Can technology create accessibility and equity to all who are seeking quality education? Why or why not? In a nutshell, my answer is no, but that you can get a lot closer by including many others with technology. I highly recommend everyone to take ETEC 565C: Ableism, Equity, & Technology. One of my top takeaways from the course is acknowledging that ‘accessibility for all’ is impossible. As educators (or learning experience designers), we must ask ourselves the following question: “Who am I including or excluding by using this method of delivery for learning?”. There is not one perfect box for learning something and acknowledging this will help us create more accessible multi-modal learning environments. This is why I am a big fan of Universal Design for Learning, which acknowledges the need to deliver information in multiple ways to assist various learners.
Hi Marie-Eve! Yes of course, and I appreciate your perspective with regards to accessibility and the implications of school technology use. You bring up an interesting point that any technology choice inherently privileges some learners while others suffer a disadvantage. Do you think that artificial intelligence could be used to enhance differentiation and recommend better strategies to support individual students and thus level the playing field?
Adding Cindy’s original comment:
Hello Marie-Eve, Thank you so much for describing your thoughts and your reflection from the ETEC 565C course. Your question concerning “Who am I including or excluding by using this method of delivery for learning?” is a really important question. I’d love to be part of an on-going discussion, evaluation and reality of technology being used to enhance the well-being of people, according to their contexts and needs. This sounds like a job for University Design for Learning!
Adding Brendan’s original comment:
Hi Marie-Eve! Yes of course, and I appreciate your perspective with regards to accessibility and the implications of school technology use. You bring up an interesting point that any technology choice inherently privileges some learners while others suffer a disadvantage. Do you think that artificial intelligence could be used to enhance differentiation and recommend better strategies to support individual students and thus level the playing field?
Thanks for the OER Team Future Classrooms! I personally enjoyed the future classroom the most and would love to make that a reality in my teaching future. For the first question, I think technology can create accessibility and equity to those seeking quality education, but I’m not entirely sure if the world sees it the same way. For example, an avid learner could easily learn on YouTube how to be a carpenter, but certain institutions and businesses will not recognize it. To sum it up, I think on a personal level, quality education can be found, but the recognition of this quality by others may not be realized. One thing I would like to see in the classroom of the future are dedicated technology spaces that have worktables, laptop stations, games and even a lounge space. I wish there was a space where I could learn about technology with others back in elementary school. Having rows of computers just didn’t feel like it was enough. I think in the future, there may be virtual classrooms, but I still think physical classrooms will trump that. There is just a certain presence and physical commitment that is set when students are all in the same space.
You made totally valid points, Jackson! What do you think are the obstacles to businesses and institutions recognizing that technology can create a quality education? For business, which are driven by profit, I can see the need to make a profit being an obstacle. When it comes to equity, can profit-making take a back seat? How would this work logistically?
#3: Yes, I can envision a future without physical classrooms (for all ages beyond… elementary school maybe). This actually doesn’t even require technology (e.g. Good Will Hunting). But more seriously, what I envision is based on the notion that distance actually strengthens relationships with others. Not sure about you guys, but I’ve always felt closer to my family when I’m living far away from them. Social interactions become more deliberate, focused and intentional. Though there are various dependent factors, I think this is worth exploring in education. For example, for the most part, online courses (like this one) can pretty much run on their own. What if instructors transferred the time they typically would spend in classrooms to meaningful one-on-one interactions with all students (not office hours, but a component that’s actually part of the course)? The teacher then shifts their role to more of a mentor than an instructor.
Thanks for your response, Aaron. You made a good point about how distance can strengthen in-person interactions. I experienced the same when I lived and worked overseas. Summers were so much more special, intentional and I became much more thankful for my relationships. My parents realized this, too! As for the idea of instructors’ roles becoming more of a mentor than an instructor – I think that would be somewhat difficult and cause quite a bit of fatigue for instructors especially when they have several students in their classrooms. This is an interesting point of discussion because the Career Life Education and Career Capstone 10-12 courses in BC were newly introduced where students are required to have a mentor-like and/or supervisor to oversee their work. When building this course, our team of teachers discussed whether or not the instructor should be the mentor. While this is possible and ultimately, up to the instructor, I do not wish a teacher to take on 30+ students for the whole year, on top of their teaching load.
I think of Aaron’s point as a hybrid approach to teaching, which I definitely agree with. Although online schooling during covid was pretty terrible for younger kids, I think a mixed method approach has potential, where some of the learning could be online and the rest could be experiential with your teacher, or “mentor” as Aaron put it. As for the distance thing: I think this is only true the older you get. For my young kids, separation from relatives when we were abroad turned many of their close relatives into strangers, while I would take time for long chats back home, this was not a viable option for a younger kid.
Hayley, I agree 100% regarding distance. I moved around a lot as a child, and as such what was a “huge extended family” from my mothers perspective, from my perspective was just endless cousins I had never met! Technology would help with this now a bit (i.e. video calls, social media), but for younger children, distance doesn’t make the heart grow fonder – it makes it forget! For similar reasons, online school for younger children is less successful, while we can see some great success stories higher up the K-12 chain!
The element of contention to what the future of education in elementary looks like is how will we adapt our private sector, and work force to adapt if we don’t have a physical space of supervision for children? If we move to a hybrid option, how do we accommodate the need for supervision so workers can go to work, while also affording students the opportunities of technology rich, hybrid teaching? I would love to see more studies on this, in particular about what age students are able to start handling this hybridization.
The other element to hybrid that also must be considered is teacher training and effective “guiding” to ensure that students are still learning, and being engaged, not as though they would in the physical classroom but in a means effective to convey the message and content. This is what creates professional community and discourse and leads to further learning and more meaningful learning opportunities. The community aspect is crucial in my opinion to keep student interest and motivation.
Thank you so much for describing your thoughts and your reflection from the ETEC 565C course. Your question concerning “Who am I including or excluding by using this method of delivery for learning?” is a really important question. I’d love to be part of an on-going discussion, evaluation and reality of technology being used to enhance the well-being of people, according to their contexts and needs. This sounds like a job for University Design for Learning!
#2 Considering the changes that have occurred in education, what is one thing you’d like to see in the classroom of the future? My kids just moved to Canada from England where they attended a very futuristic looking public school. If you watch the first little bit of this video you can get an idea of what it looked like inside, https://youtu.be/jjK3pbPRQuk, basically the interior had no walls- it was a K-6 school and the “classrooms” were just different coloured dots on the floor. The original intent of this design was to encourage kids to be able to learn from the other year groups, depending on their interests, although in practice they kept to their own classes. That being said one thing that school excelled at, which I find lacking in Canadian schools, was teaching to the level of the individual students. Out of my 3 kids, one struggled, one was an average student and one was ahead of his peers. For the kids who struggled AND the kids who were ahead, they were often taken aside by teachers or aides during class time and given work and attention that matched their level of learning. Back in Canada, (or possibly just Quebec) there is one teacher in the class, so the material is aimed at the average kid, and that’s all that’s offered. I’m sure there are ILPs for some kids, but for those who are only struggling a bit (or aren’t diagnosed with any issues), there aren’t any special group. Also there is certainly nothing to push my smart kid out of a stupor of boredom- no time for extra challenges. The problem here is staffing, but I feel like technology could be a huge aid to this, where kids could continue to progress depending on their level, rather than the class average. A hybrid approach, where kids followed lessons online at their own pace but a teacher was available to help them where needed would be a huge improvement to the system we have now.
Thank you for sharing your perspective and WOW what an incredible learning environment the Wallscourt farm looks like! I can definitely empathize with your experience in the Canadian Classroom, though I have been fortunate enough to work in 2 different school districts and several schools. In Calgary, I was fortunate enough to have an educational aide in my classroom who could, as you said, pull groups of students to get more individualized attention and support whether it was for extending learning or supporting the development of fundamental skills. The main problem I encountered for middle years students was that they complained they felt segregated from the group or treated differently, and though I explained this was more about fine-tuning their education to match their needs, I can also appreciate the desire to fit in for the middle years. On the flip side in Kelowna, I’ve been very fortunate to work at a school with retractable glass walls and flexible seating, which makes it far easier to split off individual groups and support them, however, I have not an educational aide this year, and even when combining two classes with 2 teachers, I find it quite difficult to support everyone in spite of the adjustable room/seat arrangements. I agree that I think the “goldilocks spot” here lies in artificial intelligence and adaptive technology, as it can help me by flagging the students I can best support throughout the day, while differentiating problems and learning experiences to suit students where they are at. The current platform I use for this is CK-12’s adaptive practice problems in Math, and it’s been great, though some occasionally go too difficult to quick. Check them out here if you’re interested: https://www.ck12.org/practice/
#2: I would like to see future classrooms include the concept of Flexible Spaces in the sense that the physical area of the classroom should be transformable in order to correspond to the individual needs of students and class activities. My idea is to make classrooms feel more welcoming, so that students will feel more comfortable within their learning environments. In terms of classroom arrangements, this could be done (if it’s unfeasible or impossible do advise!) via moving walls that make rooms adaptable for different courses and positions of tables/desks not being “fixed”. As I often shift between different rooms to teach, the layout of each room/facilities and layout greatly differs which at times can be annoying. There were times when I had to revise lecture/lesson plans simply because the physical layout of the classroom wasn’t compatible with what I had in mind. Flexible rooms create more opportunities to achieve better collaboration/interaction between the students and the teacher. Ergonomics wise, I think standing desks should also have a space in classrooms of the future as some students (and adults) might have trouble focusing while sitting down for too long. Other additions include: (i) private laptop/tablet workstations (ii) study areas for collaborative discussions (iii) interactive whiteboards/smart boards to replace traditional ones.
John, I completely understand your laments! When I’m working as an interior designer actually DESIGNING these spaces there’s always a balance to try and achieve maximum flexibility, but also perfect functionality. Usually, one of these things has to suffer OR the price tag is huge! Movable walls are a big talking point in most educational spaces, and usually what stands in the way are a few things: 1. they are expensive (think $30k price tag for each, if they’re acoustically sound), 2. they are hard to implement into existing spaces (they’re very heavy, impacts the structure of the building) and 3. they’re not always the easiest things for a layperson to move – usually a little tricky if they’re insulated right for acoustics (insulated for acoustics = tight fit). Of course, electric ones are easy to move, but even more expensive! I also see a lot of garage doors but most facilities don’t want to use those due to the hanging chains. All that said movable walls are DEFINITELY options, but usually given the choice my educational clients decide against them, unless it’s a new built. Instead, they opt for flexibility without moving the walls around. With that in mind, I thought you may enjoy the following resource from Steelcase which touches on “active learning” flexible arrangements: https://www.steelcase.com/content/uploads/2018/05/Insights-and-Applications-Guide-Classroom-Section.pdf — this resource is from around 4 years ago, but what I like about it are the numerous configurations displayed with the same furniture pieces. Usually my educational clients respond well to this sort of intervention, where reconfiguring is easy, simple, and gives them a few options. From there they usually designate certain rooms to a couple of functions (i.e. these are good “lecture” rooms or “collaborative” rooms) and diversify that way. Again, perfect world, I think we would see a lot more movable walls!
#1: I believe that technology can create accessibility and equity if implemented correctly. While it’s not the only tool which can fulfil this idea, tech can be useful in this situation as it could (i) allow students to access materials outside of class such as researching information, locate class instructions, e-textbooks, socializing with classmates, allowing parents to keep track of their progress and connect with subjects which interests them. Information is essentially accessible 24/7 without any barriers to learning. (ii) having more tools to learn increases equity, some students might prefer a narrow approach while some enjoy broader MOOC based experiences (iii) tech can also help teachers/administrators improve the classroom and make informed decisions to reduce disparities, income inequality, geographical limitations and discrimination.
John, agreed that technology can help us bridge some major gaps in educational accessibility, especially in the context of availability of information. In terms of K12, I haven’t seen a lot of opportunities for varied delivery models, at least in K12. Do you think that with the onset of more hybrid learning, these varied delivery models may begin to be more prevalent, enabled by technology, in the K12 public sector?
I think it would depend on various factors including social environment, unforeseeable situations (eg: a pandemic) or global trends which accelerate educational accessibility. K-12 classrooms definitely have the potential to move towards diverse models as we’ve seen in the past year where online learning and the use of Zoom, Flipgrid, Padlet etc became the main delivery medium for learning. However, I think the social classroom/physical space remains important, especially for K-12 students as learning from their peers and teachers is a crucial component to having a balanced learning experience. Perhaps age also influences whether a particular delivery model works since it directly connects with an individual’s experiences and knowledge. In this situation, extra planning and thought is required for ensuring accessibility is maintained/upheld
Hi Week 10 Team, what a great topic; amazing implementation and delivery. The website was visually stunning, easy to navigate, and full of useful info/stat. Here is my feedback to question 1) I think technology has the potential to create a more equitable and diverse space for those seeking quality education, BUT achieving a full 100% coverage will be impossible. Technology itself (i.e. internet connectivity, Wi-Fi availability, device accessibility, e-textbooks, etc..) is still considered luxury in many parts of the world. If the question, as outlined under the “context” section of your website, is merely targeted towards the Canadian K-12 public education, then the answer would be “maybe/possibly”, in my opinion.
Thank you Saied for your words on the OER! We are glad you found it interesting and easy to navigate. Yes, when discussing as a group, often we found ourselves saying “YES, but…” in terms of equity and accessibility. Technology can open many doors, especially in the cases of those students who struggle to ACCESS education. At the same time, often the issues of access have more to do with circumstances outside our control (such as internet/Wi-Fi availability, etc.) We did want to pose this question within our context, though, where we have less of these issues – although not none as emphasized already by Mev & Cindy above. As Mev mentioned in terms of equity/accessibility to education, often what we are considering moreso is “inclusion” (i.e. no one is left out). I think it is an optimistic goal that everyone is included, but it is one worth striving for, or at least, keeping in mind as we teach and learn!
H Ally, Thanks for referencing my comment, I think a piece here to ensure more inclusion is reminding ourselves of ‘nothing about us, without us’. Who needs to be at the table to provide guidance in ensuring this inclusion we need to (and should already) be striving for?
Mev, agreed. I see this issue a lot when I am working with educational clients. Often, these marginalized groups are not at the same table as me, although sometimes they are at a table ‘adjacent.’ Generally, these groups do have a representative somewhere, but I don’t get direct contact. I know that there’s such a thing as “too many cooks” but I am also always a bit wary of how we may be missing obvious things without them present!
2) my response to the second question would be wanting to move away from campfire classroom spaces (storytelling, with the teacher sharing information to all the students) to more a sandbox model, where students get to experiment the learnings. The ideal level of experimentation could be achieved through hands on investigation, VR, MR, AR, or so on…. David Thornburg, in his book, titled “from the Campfire to the Holodeck: Creating Engaging and Powerful 21st Century Learning Environments” outlines the characteristic, advantages, and the drawbacks of each model, while advocating that classrooms need to accommodate all the different models, depending on the subject, audience, time, etc… Here is the link to the book if anyone is interested: https://books.google.ca/books/about/From_the_Campfire_to_the_Holodeck.html?id=pYnHAAAAQBAJ&source=kp_book_description&redir_esc=y
Saied, you’ve struck another major talking point that we had as a group! We “know” that different activities are optimized differently, so why would there only be ONE classroom of the future? If there is ‘one’ solution – does that mean it’s hyper flexible and we adapt our teaching to that space and its capacities? This is something we considered for some time when prepping the OER. Right now, it’s hard to tell what that “future” will look like, and it seems that for now, multiple spaces (including physical ones) are needed. Technology may enlighten us on a particular path, as things like VR, AR, and XR become more prevalent and less clunky. In our research into this topic, though, we realized that despite the affordances that technology provides, those social, collaborative spaces to share and learn together are valuable and must be preserved – AKA the campfire analogy. Thanks for your comment & the reading recommendation!
3) I will try to answer this question in the same timeframe as defined by your OER (i.e. till 2050). The short answer is “yes”, I think that in the next three (3) decades, the need for physical classrooms could easily be near zero, in the developed countries at least. In my humble opinion, there will be growing pain, but eventually the need for physical classrooms would go away. The beauty of online/remote education is that the longer you do online classes, the more you learn the mechanics and value them. Additionally, time and place constraints become meaningless when learning online. Having said this, I think full remote learning is a high-cost learning mode (at least for now) that is heavily reliant on equipment, facility, and technology availability.
Saied, I appreciate you taking a more definitive stance on this item. In most cases, the resistance to K-12 environments being fully online is especially with the younger students who struggle to stay engaged, and use school to learn many social/emotional skills. In the coming decades, how do you think this age group can begin to be managed with these aspects in mind? Do we need to restructure curriculum to include for designated socialization, or look to teaching those skills outside of school, instead? Is this even a concern, in the future? Look forward to your thoughts!
Thank you for the thought-provoking question, got me thinking. Let me clarify a bit more, in my response I basically provided my feedback on how I envision the classroom in 2050, and not necessarily implying that it’s the finest model. The emerging reality was the focus of my answer. In the words, is the trend telling me that by 2050, K-12 classes could be delivered fully online? In my humble opinion, the answer is yes (covid proved that its possible). Having said this, do I think that that would be the absolute best model? I don’t have as definite of an answer for that.
I would prefer a blended approach, since being fully online needs a more disciplined/mature student. In K-12, the social and emotional development of students is a critical aspect of the education experience, so a blended/hybrid model could be the solution there. Additionally, the hybrid model would enable the teacher to convert some portions of the curriculum that are a better match, to online delivery.
Saied, I agree – by 2050, certainly we will be ABLE to teach fully virtually, but the debate on whether or not it is the “best” way to teach will continue for far longer, I think. This was something we considered at length in our group. Knowing what we know about how students “learn best” can there really be one space to “teach best”? I’d say yes… and also no!
Could you envision a further future without a physical classroom whatsoever? If not, what do you envision? I could certainly see this as a possibility in terms of the technical requirements. Virtual reality is advancing rapidly and we are already seeing this kind of framework of a virtual world in the whole Metaverse conversation. As some others have pointed out, however, just because we can do something does not mean we should. Just thinking about remote learning (because this is essentially what it would be without a physical classroom), how exactly would this work? Would students have to learn from home? If so, who is going to take care of them while they are there? For younger students, this will require a parent (or someone) to stay home and take care of them. We have seen throughout the pandemic that this was actually very difficult for a lot of parents. From this aspect alone, I don’t think this is something we should do. From a development perspective, I think physical schools provide all kinds of crucial social lessons. Students learn how to wait in line at the water fountain, take care of their own stuff (coats, backpacks, etc.), navigate the physical building as they move to classrooms, and so forth. I don’t think we should underestimate the value of all of these little things. In terms of a vision of the future, I think a physical school is needed for students, however, once they get into high school, I think there should be some flexible options. If students want to take some of their credits online and only be in the school building for a portion of the day, I think that would be beneficial. Students would have some agency in determining what learning environment works best for them and for what subjects. They may aim to take a History course virtually but take their Math course in-person, for example. The flexibility of choice is what I would really like to see in the future.
Nathan, thanks for all your great thoughts here. You are hitting almost all of our justifications for the “physical space” – I feel like you were on our team without actually being on it! Yes, these social-emotional day to day interactions can really not be stressed enough for early stages of development. It’s really not just the “classroom” learning that’s important about “going to school.” Your comments on managing as a family when a student learns from home are big pieces as well, we really do not have our society set-up to allow for learning at home when both parents are employed full-time (most of the time, anyway). This is something that hopefully, with the shifts of more flexible, hybrid work set-ups, can be further enabled. Looking into a “far future”, I also wonder if some of the other “workplace” shifts will happen to education. In workplace design, we’ve seen the rise of automation prioritizing human emotional intelligence, and technology enabling people to “work anywhere”. This has led to a shift in the concept of work: no longer is work “somewhere you go” but rather “something you do”. Could you see the same thing happen to K-12 educational environments?
Thanks, Ally! I got most of my ideas from reading your OER, so congratulations to you and your group for a job well done.
I also feel that I have a pretty unique perspective because I work in a 100% online school (and have done for about 7 years) while my wife teaches in brick-and-mortar school. We constantly share stories about our daily encounters and then tend to highlight the differences between online and in-person learning without much effort. I feel I am still “plugged in” as it were, thanks to my wife’s stories.
I could certainly see education shifting in a similar way as the workplace has. The interesting thing with work, is that there are still many jobs/roles where people need to be in the physical space. On my own team, for example, we have a few members who need to be in the office every day, yet we have people who only need to go in a couple of times per week and some who basically never go in. It all depends on that person’s specific role and the functionalities they need at hand. I suppose this could be transposed to education in that you would obviously want something like a woodworking class to be taught on campus but students would have the choice to take a geography course online. I think the hybrid approach is likely where the workplace and the classroom will land. After all, I think we want to prepare students for the reality of the workplace, so I would be very happy to see these two in alignment.
Nathan, thanks for your thoughts – this is another thing that we came across in our studies that had some interesting contentions: the PURPOSE of education. Why do children go to school? And separately, is it the RIGHT reason? Far too large a question for our OER, but interesting to consider! Initially, at least, “formal” education was to help shape children’s ideology and allow them to meaningfully contribute to society. Nowadays, things have shifted into a nurturing, individualistic approach, but still the ability to contribute to your community is critical. A fun statistic I see quite a lot is that “schools today train students for jobs that do not exist” – how do we prepare students for a role we know nothing about? Of course, we teach soft skills that they can apply anywhere. But beyond that: we should be trying to align the workplace and education, with these hand in hand we can better kickstart students prospects. Thanks again for your thoughts!
Hi Team. Great learning opportunity, and talking points.
I think the democratization of learning is a lot further along then we think, and is serving to empower large swaths of people around the world. At the bare minimum (answering to #1 here) is that all people who wish it should have access to a solid source of internet that is capable to handle the heavy data used on complex/dense sites is the basic starting point. Libraries and schools can certainly offer the opportunity offset this, however we are moving ever faster towards mobile technology, so we need to ensure that devices and access are available to all. While agree there is a community in online learning, it is one that the strong learner, who has already had the opportunity to build relationships in formal settings, will likely be able to build while those who have been isolated will not. Think about the evolution of MOOCs for example; much of the students in MOOCs already had an undergraduate degree and as such instead of really extending learning opportunities to those that might not have otherwise had them, they became a platform for those with access to gain more education. Perhaps state funded internet and devices is the way to go, or allow private groups to fund these spaces with some incentives?
Kyle, great points about MOOCs. “Remote” learning really has been touted as a revolution, but in the end we do seem to end up with baby steps! In terms of democratization of learning, I agree that technology is helping us make major strides, and that many governmental agencies are beginning to see access to the internet a “right” for all citizens, a trend which I expect will continue. Regarding actual access to devices, this is a great point, and I think the hardest thing to imagine in a “far future.” I have to assume that, at some point, we will no longer need mobile phones or ‘separate devices’ to engage with technology – as we saw with some of last weeks Wearables information! Is it at this point that these “enablings” become moreso something the school could have on hand, rather than a personal device? Will we need to carry them with us, or will they be everywhere we go? The point remains though, we need to be mindful of those who the “system in place” does not favour, and make sure that they do not get further isolated because of it.
Great points here. I imagine a world where students’ phones have all the information they need, simply plugging into a device wherever they are brings up the contents they are after; in school they would have access to the online learning platform and content for the day, their assignments and perhaps connectivity to meet with students not in the same class. Something like a hard-drive, but with more capabilities. It also allows schools to control what is accessed within its walls to ensure safety and security. If we are considering all families have a baseline of internet access (see the improvement of LoRaWAN networks in the US) and equipment necessary, than how do we deploy hybrid learning that is a true extension of the classroom experience? How do we ensure that by moving our education systems into hybrid models, that parents are still able to go to work, when and where needed?
Kyle, agree that the hybrid school system needs to fit into a more hybrid society. I would have to imagine, if we enable these activities in educational environments, we could (should?) enable them in corporate environments as well. With the rise of remote/hybrid work, it is not too much to imagine: everything at your fingertips to do your best, a support system of colleagues (classmates) available when you need them, etc. Some sort of “mobile hard-drive” or “real world cloud” sounds likely. That said, there are similar barriers to this style of working that relate to isolating some people. For example: working in interior design over the pandemic, we had a lot of clients touting that they simply “did not need their office spaces” and that “all their staff work flawlessly from home”. When we looked into those claims, it turned out a good percentage of staff were looking forward to coming back to the office because they didn’t HAVE a permanent office set-up in their home. This could be due to choice in their living area (i.e. condos) or because they had large families. Employees were therefore depending on their company to provide for them a proper workspace. This was a completely unexpected result for our clients, who simply assumed that everyone had the same capabilities they did (nicely organized and separated home office) – a similar perspective that plagues the “every student will bring their own device” approaches.
#2 Considering the changes that have occurred in education, what is one thing you’d like to see in the classroom of the future? Perhaps begin with an aspect of school that you wish you could have experienced, related to educational technology. My friend’s art classroom is amazing. It has different zones to create a trauma-informed classroom. Students can go to different spaces within the classroom and work where they feel the most comfortable. This is what I saw in your ‘future classroom’ mock-up, just a more technological version. Learning is not one size fits all, and acknowledging the need for different spaces is something I wished I could have experienced when I was in school. I recently moved into a bigger space and I find myself changing the space I work in depending on my mood and the type of work I am doing, learners should have this freedom as well.
Hi Mev, of course I understand where you are coming from in terms of how your physical space can be SO important to your wellness. Not only in construction, and use of a space, but simple things like a revised layout can have a huge impact. In a comment higher up, I shared a resource with John on flexibility in “active learning” classrooms which starts to address a bit of this flexibility, if you’re interested! What we don’t see however are separate “types” of solo environments, which I think can be really successful for students especially as we ask them to do more internal reflection. With that in mind, I’ve seen quite a few educational environments that DO provide this, here’s a great example: https://educationsnapshots.com/projects/18439/st-bede-school-stream-classrooms/ —– (you’ll also see some of those pesky movable walls!) These “STREAM” classrooms are interconnected, with different types of spaces and set-ups, but also different sizing and levels of privacy for different tasks. Usually when I am in spaces like these, I feel energized and ready to learn!
#3 In our OER, we decided that in the near future, a physical space will be essential given the social-emotional nature of the teacher-student relationship. Could you envision a further future without a physical classroom whatsoever? If not, what do you envision? I think the physical classroom will always exist and always needs to exist. From an equity standpoint, not everyone lives in a positive space where they can learn. They need to be able to come to the space provided by their community. That said, technology gives the benefit of creating more and more opportunities to access learning without the traditional classroom. A learner should have the ability to choose the type of environment that works for them, just like I did by selecting the MET program, which I started pre-pandemic. It being 100% online was a driver with living in Squamish, BC.
Mev, your conclusion is more or less where we landed as well. We had quite a bit of discussion on how or if a classroom (or learning overall) COULD be fully virtual, or even just conducted without a dedicated environment. Functionally, I think yes it’s getting to be “possible” but contextually I can’t imagine how it would be implemented. There are of course the learners who will not thrive in this environment, and then as Kyle mentioned there’s also the consideration that parents may struggle with these types of changes – overall there would be some major upheavals happening for this non-physical learning to occur… with that said, just as we are seeing in the workplace now, flexibility becomes key. Even if we cannot fully depart from physical spaces, we are learning more and more what tech-enabled spaces can afford us, and see the value in truly flexible teaching and learning.
#1 Can technology create accessibility and equity to all who are seeking quality education? Why or why not?
Yes, I think it could be a great equalizer. With the vast nature of physical space in Canada, but a population that is concentrated along the Canadian/American boarder you do not have the ability to expose students everywhere to the same curriculum. Many smaller communities could benefit from the ability to access curriculum in those speciality areas (especially in the sciences) that their school community could not offer. We of course have to do better with wifi access that many other commenters referenced. There needs to be a renewed interest in building infrastructure to allow for access to connect at any time and anywhere. This problem is world wide; the infrastructure is just not in place to create equity for all.
Thanks, Marie. When you refer to learners having the ability to access curriculum in specialty areas (like in the area of science, as you mentioned), can you be more specific? I ask because in order to graduate from high school in BC, for instance, all students need to fulfill credits in the Graduation Program which include specific science courses (if they choose to take science) such as Physics, Biology, Chemistry (and even Computer Science courses are included). And then when you refer to the “same curriculum”- are you thinking a provincial/state curriculum or particular courses that are written and that include different content than what would be offered in the schools?
Well there is a lot of programs and classes that can fulfill a credit for Math 12 or “science”12. The IB program, classes in coding, environmental biology, human performance in PE: these classes, for instance, are not offered every where. Yes there is a programmed set of classes that must be offered but anything specialized that a student would want to experience would be limited in remote regions without access to online learning.
Thanks for naming those specifics, Marie. One excellent role of XR would be to provide remote learning experiences in things like environmental biology and human performance in PE as well as outdoor education. I think it’s very exciting to think about the possibilities!
#2 Considering the changes that have occurred in education, what is one thing you’d like to see in the classroom of the future? Perhaps begin with an aspect of school that you wish you could have experienced, related to educational technology.
Ha ha, well when I went to school there was overhead projectors, and I had to squint to see what the teacher was writing on them; I have 20/20 vision, so the bar is pretty low for me with technology that I experienced in school. Although, we did get to play Oregon Trial in the computer lab when I was in elementary school (highlight:). As a classroom teacher now, I am a huge proponent in flexibility in design. Every year, the composition and needs of your students change so being able to adapt the physical space, depending on their needs, would be beneficial. For example, some years you can have students who work well in collaboration, and project based learning works well for them. Some years you have students that are not interested at all or they struggle with the independent nature of project based learning. Physically moving the elements in my room would be beneficial. Not having power access only against a wall would be beneficial. I myself do not enjoy teaching from one area of the room and I like to be able to move and instruct around the room, so I physically would need space for that, but also, I need the capability to direct the students’ attention to the displayed resources as I move. I think students attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, so dynamic instruction as well as spaces are important.
Thanks, Marie. I’m curious – if you could set up your classroom to move around and keep learners engaged, as you described, what does that logistically look like? For example, where would you have the outlets to plug in devices? What kind of digital technology would you implement? For project-based learning (or not), how would you set up this space (what tables, chairs)?
I love collaborative environments, so I would love students at tables that face the centre of the room. Display boards coming down from the ceiling facing the students on both sides of the room. Maybe pull down plugs so if they need access to power they can continue using the device. Tables that move on wheels (and can lock) so that the room can be transformed to what we are currently working on. Just some thoughts
Great thoughts, Marie. Actually, when I read your initial post and envisioned mobile electrical outlets, I did think about the hanging access to power. I first saw this at an elite International school but as I spent time in the classroom, I noticed disasters waiting to happen. One improvement on that would be to have round tables where there a centre column underneath the table would provide electrical outlets to devices.
#3 In our OER, we decided that in the near future, a physical space will be essential given the social-emotional nature of the teacher-student relationship. Could you envision a further future without a physical classroom whatsoever? If not, what do you envision?
School provides so much more than the academic curriculum that takes place. Human beings are, by nature, social creatures and it is rare when people want to isolate themselves away from a community. I see the toll that the covid pandemic has taken on the students when it comes to the reduced capacity to interact with their peers and outside community in these last two years including the impact of increased focus on a screen (cellphone addiction is such a real issue in classrooms now). I think a physical space is necessary to create the community aspect that schools provide, but of course that can look like a lot of things. Students learn and cultivate socio-emotional capabilities when learning and observing with their peers. They learn to connect or reject (not in a mean way is the goal) things that do not fit their needs when it comes to friendship groups or extra-curricular groups they belong to. A future classroom would provide the physical space to allow for people to be physically present, but also allow for those opportunities for students to experience a wide arrange of curriculum and experience that would take them beyond that space. Technology would allow for access to those oportunities through connectivity (access to technology) as well as through virtual opportunities from things like VR devices.
I really resonate with your thoughts about humans being social creatures and the on-going need for physical space in the classroom. I also concur with the opportunities for in-person interaction as well as the options for learning experiences that go beyond the physical space they may typically find themselves within, on a daily basis.
#1. I think that technology has the potential to create accessibility and equity to all who are seeking quality education, but it is not there yet. A main problem is access to the technology itself. Not everyone can afford the technology or the infrastructure, like internet access, to go with it. I have a number of students whose families cannot afford devices for their children and who cannot afford to have internet access at home, or who live in a place where there is no internet service available.
#2. One thing I would like to see in all classrooms, and I wish I had access to in mine, is virtual or mixed reality devices. This would help give all students access to similar experiences, some of which they could never have in real life. These types of experiences are what keep students engaged and interested in school.
#3. Schools of the future will still need to have a physical classroom. The pandemic has proved to me that my students do not learn best when they are at home. There are so many supports that a physical school provides that cannot be provided otherwise. Schools give students the opportunity for social interactions with their peers and adults, both in class and out. Physical schools allow students to access a number of supports – academic, social, emotional. Schools should also have the technology and related infrastructure needed for their education. For some students, school is one of the only safe spaces they have to go to. I even have some students where school is the only place they can eat a regular meal.
Hi Terri-Lynn! This has been my experience as well. Affordable computing technology has come a long way, but the cost is still in the hundreds, and the discourse in school districts is still about loaning or reselling devices at cost rather than providing them for all students. Ironically, I think the cost has become comparable to the cost of textbooks in previous decades, so I see no reason why the technologies you mention can’t be made available. This would allow the enhancements we spoke of (AI assistance, VR etc) to become a reality so that the classroom can be a more equitable space for all
Question #1: Unfortunately, I do not believe that technology can create accessibility to all students. While technology do enable the creation of the classroom of the future, I question the ability for our society to progress towards this type of education. As the internet grows to be a more integral part of our society, the digital divide will only increase. Your vision of the classroom of the future is amazing and I would love to have a classroom that has that sort of infrastructure, but it’s hard to imagine when classroom teachers only have about 200 dollars to supply their classroom per year and use technology that is dated. I recognize that I’m also at a school that is in a decent area, which means that there could be many schools that have even less funding to transform their education into the one that you have highlighted. I do hope that one day we will be able to allow all learners to be in a classroom of the future though.
Hi Wynn, you raise a fair point, and I have certainly seen the inequitable allocation of funds in districts I’ve been part of. We have schools and classrooms that have holes in the building structure and wholly new schools have been built rather than address those needs. While equity might not be the reality, I think discussions like this are nevertheless valuable so that we can address these issues in our local school community.
I totally hear you about the accessibility to all students being related to money (which makes it availability). I also understand the issue with the inconsistent quality of technology across the schools (within a single district). What do you think must “budge” or drastically change in order for every child to have equal access to things like a simple laptop?
Question #2: For my own personal classroom, we currently have a BYOD policy where all students can bring their personal laptops to school. This combined with the usage of LMS makes me want more stability in the quality of education and the usage of the tools rather than any big changes. I find that one of the biggest downsides that we have with digital learning is that there is a whole range of skillsets that’s associated with it that takes away from curriculum content. This means that while there are many reasons to use blended learning using LMS, there also needs to be enough payoff for the time invested into learning these skills. Currently there is a wide range of teaching styles, some that encourages and utilizes digital learning well and some that ignores it. I believe that for classrooms to fully embrace the future, there must be more consistency with the technologies that we currently employ.
Hi Wynn, I couldn’t agree more! I serve as a lead tech teacher for my school, and when we came up for a tech refresh, the staff agreed that we needed standardized devices available across grades and classes. Chromebooks seem to provide the most bang for the buck, so we funnelled all our funds into purchasing more of those devices. I think more teachers are beginning to appreciate the value of that hardware, however, I agree that both district and school training is necessary on an ongoing basis so that staff and students can leverage those technologies as effectively as possible.
Hi again, Wynn,
I’m curious – does every single one of your students owns a laptop? Do they all have up to date software installed?
I totally agree that there is another skill set that belongs to using educational technology proficiently and at a level to effectively implement it. And with LMS’, not all are created equal! I also acknowledge the spectrum of teaching styles and willingness to learn new things e.g. technology among staff. I find that professional development cannot easily bring everyone up to par when trying to implement technology into one’s pedagogy.
Question #3: Referencing a famous quote from Jurassic Park, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”. I relate this quote to your question as I find it easy to have fully digital classrooms without a physical space, but I’m not sure whether we should. Your OER presents a wonderful argument that physical spaces teach one of the most important skills of socioemotional learning and social skills. I found that within my classroom, the amount of emotional maturity and the ability to play with each other has decreased over the period of social isolation due to Covid. Thus, I feel that we should not remove the idea of physical classrooms, but modify them to fit digital learn, such as your vision of the classroom of the future. However, if I were to design a fully digital classroom, it would be essential to have technologies such as haptic feedback suits and VR systems that are sophisticated enough to embody the physical quality of a classroom in a digital space.
Hi Wynn! I’m glad you agreed with our ideas! I likewise think that VR presents the only viable option for a potential far future classroom replacement given how it much more effectively simulates personal presence. With that said, I still don’t think it quite replicates the human body language that is so critical to social emotional communication, so it would be a poor second best option given contemporary technology.
Great OER! I am not a teacher, so found it super interesting to learn about this and the virtual classroom tour was such an engaging way to summarize the OER.
Question # 1: While I definitely think that technology can help to create more accessibility and equity to those seeking quality education (geographical barriers, financial barriers etc) I think technology can create it’s own issues in terms of having the correct access to technology, financial resources to access technology and inequalities between who is receiving the most support in the classroom. So while I do think that technology is very helpful, it will not completely solve the problem of accessibility and equity.
Question # 2: I would like to see the continuation of hybrid learning in classrooms. In thinking through the first question, I think that hybrid classrooms are a tool to improve equity and accessibility for students that might be from small towns, have longer commutes, have physical or medical restrictions limiting them from in-classroom time, or have learning styles that are more suited to different learning environments.
Question # 3: I do not envision a future without a physical classroom, as I think particularly in K-12 and as discussed in this OER Social-emotional “soft skills” are an important part of learning. While I think aspects of soft-skills can be taught virtually, ultimately these skills require in-person learning. What I do envision is a hybrid classroom, or even satellite spaces for students to attend and interact in person (like co-working but for classrooms!) but I think socialization is a huge part of learning in K-12 and this is very challenging to replicate virtually.
Robyn, thanks for sharing your thoughts on our questions! Your co-working for classrooms idea is one that I really like. We have seen similar ideas for this type of learning environment, but moreso from the perspective of allowing students to thrive (i.e. students that need more help get it, students that need more challenging work get it, etc.) Your co-working idea deals more with distance (like all co-working) and it would be quite interesting to consider how that would help some more rural students, or remote students, to engage with their peers. More than anything, there’s possibility here to broaden students peer networks in a meaningful way: instead of just knowing “who you go to school with” you could know all sorts of people your age! Like the internet, but in real life – imagine!