Classrooms of the Future and Ideo

learning-greenhouse informationexhchange

In November 2008 Nomad ran a series of workshops at Blackpool & The Fylde College.  These workshops were designed as a collaboration between our designers and the staff of the college and were aimed at generating ideas for a classroom of the future.  We were therefore naturally delighted to see Ideo’s top 10 tips for creating a 21st Century classroom in the February edition of Metropolis., particularly tip no 6! (To be clear, we are huge fans of Ideo and their work has been the source of inspiration and encouragement to us)

Ideo’s tips, in summary, were,

1) Pull, Don’t push (knowledge)
2) Create from relevance
3) Stop calling them “soft skills”
4) Allow for variation (curriculum and environment)
5) No more sage on stage
6) Teachers are designers, let them create.
7) Build a learning community
8) Be an anthropologist not an archaeologist (“…If you want to design new solutions for the future, you have to understand what people care about and design for that. Don’t dig for answer – connect”)
9) Incubate the future (allow students to take on present issues we facing like global warming, poverty etc.)
10) Change the discourse (To measure 21st Century skills and to cultivate new behavior, new assessments have to be created)

These tips are weighted largely towards creating the right type of pedagogic environment, while our work focuses more strongly on creating the right type of physical environment to support new teaching and learning models.  As ever, the lines between our theories of physical space and those of others ‘thinking’ in the realm of pedagogy cross and interweave.

Education can often be a strange and complex Universe.  The teaching profession has been exploring new pedagogic models for a number of years now and we have noticed that despite the predominance of new ideas about exchange of knowledge, discussion and debate, many educators are working in an isolated manner either within their own institution or within the safety of education itself and are little aware of the innovative work of designers such as Ideo, (and dare I say our good selves) who are seriously engaged in the subject, are producing to support these new theories.

Nonetheless, as Ideo suggest, teachers are creative. And you can’t keep a good creative down, we have been lucky to work with a plethora of forward thinking educators in this country and have been tip-toeing across the line between pedagogic theory and design for some time, helping teachers and academics to realize their ideas for new and dynamic teaching and learning spaces. (see concept images above)

Our classroom of the future is designed now and we hope to have it installed before the end of next year.  It will form a prototype for our client for a new type of college space and we hope that it will inspire those very creative teachers we worked with at B&FC to create even more experimental spaces.
Finally our teaching consultant, who loves Ideo’s tips, has requested that Nomad produce our top 10 tips for creating learning spaces.  More soon then!

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