Plazas and the School of the Future
Schools have not changed much in 150 years: 1 teacher in a classroom with 30,40, 50 or 60 students. Learning is mostly teacher directed and from books. Technology is used spasmodically if at all. This system served a by-gone industrial era producing workers who were basically skilled and highly compliant. The modern age however is marked less by manufacturing which is increasingly automated, and more by services. The new economy needs different skill sets. So schools need to change.
Spaces can affect our behaviour; impact the outcome of our experiences and productivity. Businesses have long been aware that in order to develop key skills in their employees and create collaborative, creative and productive teams – they need to invest in spaces, both physical and online, that allows a culture of collaboration to flourish. Moreover modern work space is an important part of making employees feel valued and invested in their job.
But what of schools? How can schools apply the same principles that businesses use in order to create collaborative learning communities that can develop skills in their students? What can schools do to transform existing spaces given the austere financial climate?
There is an emergent understanding globally within education that these are likely to be:
- A greater use of technology giving students more autonomy over their learning;
- An increasing use on line materials and ‘expert’ teachers drawn from a global cache;
- Consequent re design of school spaces – larger with groups of teachers and co-workers assisting learning within these environments; and
- More personalisation via the use of business intelligence technologies to track understand and intervene with individual students.
We have worked with leading architects and construction companies to rethink and build new school buildings, which are also cheaper to build and easier to run. We are also provide advice on how to rethink existing spaces. We have worked with leading technology companies to develop digital learning spaces for schools.
We provide training to teachers on how to best use these spaces to establish new ways of working that support pupils to develop key skills like collaboration, creativity and confidence which are essential in the modern world.
To date there are very few if any examples of such schools. Many schools have such features but none exemplify the full scale model. Significantly the build and operation of such establishments will be cheaper (30 per cent) to build and operate.
The Skills Lab has many global contacts and we see the opportunity to develop a global education offer comprising:
- Turn key solution for school build and operations
- Global design tweaked for local context
- On going provision of support and update of process to ensure schools remains at the cutting edge
We have identified opportunities in China, Europe, the Middle East and the USA. The central idea here would be to enable the contractor to become the favoured ‘go to’ provider by positioning them as an educational thought leader. As a consequence they could potentially leverage partnerships with major technology companies working in the same space.