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Education Design: Evolving the Classroom with Corporate in Mind

We have talked about the evolution of collaborative workspaces in commercial environments and education has followed suit, introducing comfort with collaborative work from an early age so that the work style progressively flows from kindergarten to the workplace.

Instead of having traditional rigid rows of desking and "front of the room" classrooms, today's educational environments tend to have several focal points, as well as seating arrangements that focus on small groups. Beyond that, most modern classrooms have flexible soft seating areas where students can get comfy to read. Classes are now being blended to meet the needs of all students to work together and learn from one another.

Classroom desking has evolved and are shaped like puzzle pieces so teachers can quickly arrange on the fly. Having casters on these collaborative tables make for easy transitions and students can stay engaged. Furthermore, these collaborative learning environments extend outside the classroom and into common areas such as libraries and media centers, supporting the same team-based learning. 

Image Courtesy of Teknion

Image Courtesy of Teknion

When it comes to higher education classrooms, common spaces are designed into every nook in today's campuses. This includes academic buildings, residence halls and traditional common area such as student unions and cafeterias. Common spaces are understandably designed with comfortable but functional soft seating (as shown below), which is designed to allow lounging on every square inch - with ample charging built in for today's technological world. Standing desks also bring an element that is a commonplace in corporate culture. These spaces are where students tend to meet to huddle up with groups for collaborative work.
Interscape Commercial Environments Project - UCONN

The blurring of lines between education and the corporate world is seen not only through collaborative work and the need/ease for adaptability but the ever growing necessity of technology. Even at the young age of 5, learning stations are created with tablets and chromebooks. Middle school and beyond, teachers are increasing amounts of classroom and homework to be done online, all to prepare the students for the norm of the working world!

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