teaching and learning spaces: a future scenario

I’ve been asked to describe the teaching and learning spaces (formal and informal) from the students perspective of the future. This is a very difficult task … and there are lots of information available via JISC and other reports. However, I think if we assume the following trends will continue, we can make a few suggestions;

trend 1: teaching and learning practice in HE

the trend is likely to continue where we’ll see increased use of group work, student created material, multimedia, and assessment will continue to become e-portfolio based (small and frequent). A key support for this will be ensure we facilitate group work, creation of stuff, and agile, flexible communication within our informal and formal learning spaces

trend 2: technology

the trend will be for more devices to be web enabled, student ownership of “smart” technology to increase, student awareness of how to use the technology in their pockets to increase, more cloud computing / web 2.0 tools being used

So, what does this mean for our rooms? Well, nothing radically different from what we’ve been developing slowly across the sector.

We’ll need more informal and flexible spaces. Where students can write on walls, sit on bean bags etc., These need to be appealing, and well maintained. I’d suggest don’t try to be prescriptive but develop capacity in more flexible spaces. For instance, the basics are ….

  • excellent wi-fi networks – easy to access, and use
  • wi-fi projectors and display points
  • writing spaces (smartboard technologies)
  • loanable equipment (laptops, mics etc.,)
  • more effective student support around the technologies
  • moveable furniture (display boards, computers)
  • lots of power sockets

Based on these foundations, the students will be able to use the spaces as they require. So, more space dedicated to group learning pods, and less around rows of pc’s in computer labs.


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