Classrooms of the Future

What are Classrooms of the Future?

Current thinkers and futurists challenged us to re-think what we think we know about learning and where it takes place. In the 21st century, the “Classroom of the Future” stops being a “place” or a “space” where students gather to learn—whether it be synchronously or asynchronously. 

Rather, the classroom of the future becomes a series of hands-on experiences tailored to students’ interests and learning styles. This type of learning takes place in architectural spaces that are tailored for a specific purpose (arts, sports, ecology), or designed to be multi-purpose. 

The goal of the classrooms of the future is to facilitate experiences that  foment the four critical skills required to survive the 21st century: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity, 

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The highly personalized learning of the “classrooms of the future” takes place in architectural spaces designed around the learner’s interests. These spaces create learning experiences that involve hands-on project creation using the real tools the student would encounter in the field. 

  1. Outdoor learning spaces
    Research shows that students benefit from receiving instruction in nature. As urban sprawl takes over major cities, there will be more demand for access to outdoor learning spaces for students, such as parks, sports fields, outdoor skate parks, and similar outdoor venues.
  2. Flexible learning spaces
    Introduction of learning environments where students have hands-on interaction with members of the public or local community. These may include community spaces, media labs, rooftop study areas, outdoor amphitheaters and cafés that are optimized for flexibility.
  3. Ecological and green learning spaces
    The classroom of the future includes design that is environmentally conscious and brings green practices to all aspects of the venue. This may entail everything from materials selected for construction to the type of electricity used to power the school. There will be a demand for environmental and architectural design firms and professionals.
  4. Immersive experiences
    Immersive Experiences such as Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality allow students to explore real-world learning experiences using digital technologies. 
  1. Hybrid learning
    Hybrid learning involves flexible systems that allow both in-person and remote learning to exist together or take place simultaneously. This may include videoconference synching for a live and virtual class. Other hybrid learning may include the use of AI to create individualized learning where the teacher is no longer the lone source of information.
  2. Digital game-based learning (GBL)
    Game-based learning allows students to acquire knowledge through interactive and engaging learning opportunities that help to motivate and enhance student learning. Digital GBL takes the same approach in the virtual world.
  3. Studio spaces
    In addition to multi-use spaces, certain STEM, arts and media professions require use of specialized equipment in a dedicated space. There will be a demand for film and recording studios, mechatronics and robotics shops, as well as maker spaces with access to a variety of 3D printers. 

Opportunity Statement

The covid pandemic had drastic effects over many industries, from healthcare to logistics to government. Education has also been drastically affected. The immediate effect of the pandemic has been that most in-person, classroom learning was forced to go online suddenly and rapidly. This switch, combined with other global economic trends, has led to a boom in edu-tech investment: “EdTech Venture Capital reached 3x pre-pandemic investment levels in 2021, accelerating startups around the world with over $20B of funding.” (HolonIQ, 2022). In addition to increases in investment, delivery of online education has blurred borders and brought fierce competition in the global stage. By 2028, the global K-12 education market size will triple from 1 billion to 3.5 billion. (Valuates Reports, 2022). 

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9 responses to “Classrooms of the Future”

  1. meagan kelm

    The abrupt shift from in person to online learning that started during the pandemic coupled with the advancements in technology has started to push the boundaries of the physical classroom spaces. The growth that has been seen in ed tech signifies a period of change in education marked by an increased reliance on technology and an evolving landscape with new challenges. This rapid expansion and globalization of education is changing how we approach and deliver learning and will for years to com.

    ( 3 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  2. Jennie Jiang

    It seems Classrooms of the Future is redefining education completely. Education is moving beyond physical spaces, and becoming more personalized to each student’s learning styles and goals through flexible learning spaces, student-centered designs and advanced educational technologies. I am happy to see there are much more venture capitals in education since the emergency educational adaptation caused by the pandemic. There are much more opportunities and growth in educational technology, and I do hope this movement continues to be proactive in the future, rather than responsive to global calamities.

    ( 4 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  3. Braden Holt

    I appreciate the broadness of Classrooms of the Future as an emerging market. Society is changing quickly on many fronts and educators/education will need to undergo some broad changes in turn. Some relevant areas of change include hardware, software, and the skillset students need to succeed later in life. As hardware and software make rapid progress, educational tools available to future classrooms will be diverse and hopefully revolutionary. However, hardware and software changes will also disrupt the entire job market, leading to different demands for new graduates. I look forward to discussing how future classrooms can use future tools and strategies to meet students’ future needs.

    ( 1 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  4. nstokes1

    Classrooms of the future is a significantly important concept for my career because I am currently structuring the curriculum and business plans for an eco-sustainable school that is in the process of being developed. I truly believe that learning and classrooms should be spaces for innovation, creativity, and support. Unfortunately, this is not many people’s experience in a typical classroom. When you can adapt the curriculum to not only hold space for things like genius hour and project-based-learning but to have them as the core pedagogy, you immediately change what learning “looks” like. My undergraduate degree was quite alternative and I have always had a strong curiosity and love for outdoor education spaces but I find that there is a gap in the technology implementation and integration in these spaces, and I hope that this new school will be a space where we will use technology to support ecological preservation and there will be a focus on technology with sustainability in a physical location that helps students connect to why innovative technologies are needed.
    Along with my personal opinions and interests, I have also been working on the business model and proposal side of things and see the need for “alternative” schools as many parents want something that follows their values or desires for their child’s education. At Green School Bali, the founder referred to in his TedTalk, and I am paraphrasing, but he said that parents choose to take their children to this school before they even know it’s in Bali. If you have a special and unique product, the right people will do whatever it takes to follow their values.
    I want to build a school that sparks innovators, creators, and students who learn in a school where the possibilities are endless and there are as few limitations to meaningful learning as possible.

    ( 4 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
    1. nstokes1 Here is the TedTalk referenced in my comment above if anyone is interested!

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  5. delapena

    As much as the traditional classroom is a classroom that is built of brick and mortar, new classes/subjects need the right space for learning. As a music teacher, I have a unique space where I don’t have desks but music stands and musician designed chairs. However, the structure is still the same; a room with four walls, a roof, and doors. The structure doesn’t need to change but perhaps what is inside needs to be re-designed. As newer schools are being built, I feel teachers are not being consulted on what the 21st century classroom looks like. I’ve seen spaces where they tried to make the “classroom of the future” but it has backfired because of the lack of consultation. I’m for designing the classroom of the future but there needs to be input from the teachers that will be teaching in them rather than the contractors that build them.

    ( 1 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  6. aturpin

    It’s so important that we consider what “classrooms of the future” will look like. The world has changed so much, and is continuing to change. The realm where in which students learn must always be constantly evolving. Concepts such as outdoor learning spaces and ecological learning spaces are so important in terms of educating about and preserving our environment. I’m also a huge fan of immersive experiences and hybrid learning. Concepts such as this will be vital in capturing interest, as well as making the learning experience attainable to students with other needs. We absolutely need to become more adaptable to students, to accommodate students of ALL needs. I would also like to echo what one of my fellow colleagues said in this forum, “delapena”. YES!!! It does seem that we are limited (yes, limited) by what the contractors will allow, or be willing to provide for students and teachers.

    ( 1 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  7. C DeFazio

    I would like to think of classrooms of the future as spaces to allow students to create and design while collaborating on a daily basis. In another ETEC course that I took this past summer, I was able to step into the world of a maker space and really get my hands dirty. Maker spaces, or STEM programs, are the future of education as I believe that they can really allow students the freedom to learn and experiment with their peers. This forward-thinking approach will also focus on the shift for students to begin to think of sustainability, more technological integrated applications and different ways to learn and teach. This maker mentality can have our students become the real driver of change in the education system while beginning to make a difference in the world.

    ( 1 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  8. Daniel Edwards

    The concept of “Classrooms of the Future” seems to have a lot of importance in education as a future venture. This is because of how many things are encompassed in this. From what a classroom should be to STEM education to incorporating GBL or VR / AR / MR into the classroom. This concept has become more critical since the pandemic, as classrooms shifted to being online with synchronous (i.e., Zoom and Google Meet) and asynchronous (i.e., Google Classroom and Canvas) lessons. I have incorporated STEM education into my reading curriculum, as cross-curricular learning has helped my students learn more of the English language through it and furthered their understanding of other subjects. I have also used GBL in my classroom, and it has worked in developing motivation. When done as a group activity, it has helped students learn socially as they further their understanding of the subject.

    With the advantages of these subjects, it seems to be an excellent investment for the key stakeholders in a district to continue developing this.

    ( 1 upvotes and 0 downvotes )

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