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August 2, 2018

Trends in 21st Century Classroom Design

MHT Partners  | Education Investment Bank

It is said that the some of the most valuable learning experiences occur outside of the classroom. While real-world experiences are undoubtedly critical for one’s development, could this well-known adage also stem from a century of ineffective classroom design? A growing number of educators are starting to think so. As technology transforms curriculum and facilitates teaching, it has become apparent that standard desks in neatly aligned rows are no longer sufficient to engender optimal outcomes for both students and teachers. Instead, educators are opting for flexible learning spaces that integrate technology, encourage connectivity and emphasize hands-on learning. As a result, the traditional classroom is undergoing some big changes – from the type of furniture, to tools, to layouts.

Traditional desks and chairs are being replaced by soft seating, ottomans and configurable tables. Portable furniture that stacks, folds and rolls is increasingly necessary. Tablets, Chromebooks and interactive displays are infiltrating classrooms across all grade levels. Some learning spaces are even furnished with makerspaces, or workstations equipped with 3D printers, craft and hardware supplies, electronics and more, to encourage tinkering and innovation. And while outfitting classrooms with new technology and furniture is crucial, the physical design of the room plays just as an important role. Schools are renovating and constructing new classrooms with brighter colors and larger windows, maximizing natural light.

Creating these new learning spaces comes at a price, and there’s no doubt that educational spending on capital outlays (facilities and hardware) has tightened in the last decade. However, after years of underinvestment, spending is anticipated to reverse as school districts launch initiatives to modernize classrooms. According to survey results, 53% percent of public schools in the U.S. need to spend money on repairs and renovations, and an estimated $197 billion would be needed to complete these modernizations. Even with renovations underway, much works remains to modernize public K-12 classrooms.

Like everything else, schools are adapting to the rapidly evolving, tech-driven world. Schools are breaking the traditional mold in favor of learning spaces that foster adaptability and creativity. The intended results are a profound impact on student engagement, and ultimately, student success and performance.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

1 Comments

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  1. Hello! I’m Meg from Millennium Magazine out of New York City.

    I have some freedom and some ideas for social media collaborative promos, along with my blog, for Millennium Magazine.
    The tradeoff is that it’s product exchange: you won’t get paid per se, but you do get social media exposure from me (@meg.in.the.mid), the magazine, possibly Wescover out of San Francisco–if the pieces can be traced back to their original artisans, and you can use these promos to highlight your brands as well.

    I’m looking for collaborations on three projects:

    1–My Troy High AP classroom needs to become more user-friendly with moveable/transitional furniture, have a 21st century vibe, and new paint (this would almost definitely get additional exposure from the Troy School District).

    2–I’m getting a new desk to create an office in my basement to expand my ever-growing brand/blog. Could you help with that? I’m thinking a before/after piece.

    3–I’m looking to redo my kitchen nook area as well.

    I’m going to reach out to Lowe’s because they offer a grant and teacher benefits, and I’m going to reach out to Michelle’s Home Decor (248-884-1370) as well to see if they’d like in on this collaboration. Maybe some of you have connections for these possible collaborations as well.

    Please let me know if any of these projects would benefit and align with your brands.
    Best,
    Meg