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Welcome to the Learning Spaces

Learning spaces in the future will not just consist of the traditional classroom bound by four walls. As schools move towards more constructivist learning, schools will become more learner-centric, and students will become more and more involved in their own learning. Learning will no longer be about place; it will be about activity. That activity may take place inside a school classroom, outside in a school area, in locations around a community, online in a virtual or augmented reality environment, at home synchronously, asynchronously or even with learners as interns in a community company. Already today learning is taking place everywhere both formally and informally.

Mobile devices allow content to be downloaded and uploaded anywhere at anytime. Geolocation and mobile devices enable location aware applications to connect users to all types of interactive information. Social networking allows learners to collaborate globally anytime and anywhere. With a multitude of options for learning, education will become more personalized and customizable. Using Universal Design Principles, learning will become more accessible As teachers and learners become partners in education, schools and teachers will become a reliable source for guidance in learning. As Educause 2010 says in the Future of Leaning Environments, any learning space will need to be flexible, collaborative and focused on creation and sharing.

Schools will still be physical spaces but will incorporate more alternatives that will be increasingly virtual. Becoming the node in a distributed learning network and acting as one of the mediators of learning, schools will become more than places of education. To be sustainable, they will partner with social, business, government agencies and the community providing spaces for health and well being, child care, and community activities.

School systems will provide a hub for life long learning, social activity and citizenship.

The video to below by Gerry Bayne and Carie Page, The Future of Learning Environments (2010), for Educause gives an excellent overview of the future of higher education learning spaces.

Key trends include mobile, digital and social learning, and the blurring of the lines between time and place:

In the following video, Don Marinelli talks about how the learning environment is key to future learning. He believes that schools have real bricks and mortar issues and they need to get out of the box. He asks, "Why don't we study science at the Science Centre?" He removes obstacles in the class by allowing the students to decorate the environment. He focuses too on sensory experience through augmented reality, 3D modeling and multi-touch applications.

George Kemble in an April 8, 2010 Forbes article, The Classroom in 2020 writes, "In 2020 we will see an end to the classroom as we know it. The lone professor will be replaced by a team of coaches from vastly different fields. Tidy lectures will be supplanted by messy real-world challenges. Instead of parking themselves in a lecture hall for hours, students will work in collaborative spaces, where future doctors, lawyers, business leaders, engineers, journalists and artists learn to integrate their different approaches to problem solving and innovate together." He also writes that the pace of new information means that experts will need to remain students throughout their careers. (Forbes)

Other Resources

1. For some interesting predictions on the future of classrooms see 2020: Dawn of the Intelligent Classroom and Envisioning the 2020 School.

2. Want to participate in a contest to design the classroom of the future? See Slate's contest details in The 21st Century Classroom

In our other pages on Learning Spaces, read more about the classroom inside and out, online and hybrid learning. digital citizenship, anywhere-anytime learning, multi-purpose community spaces and personal learning networks.

Next up, see The Classroom