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Many educators are recognizing that students sitting at rows of desks for the majority of the day while a teacher lectures at the front of the room is not optimal in developing skills that foster students’ personal growth in communication, collaboration, creativity and leadership. So if educators wish to make a shift, what are the main elements needed to create a 21st century learning environment that does support those skills?

A Flexible Classroom Layout

The driving concept behind 21st century classroom design is flexibility. To empower students to decide how they learn best, they need an environment which supports that. A 21st century learning environment would typically include a group gathering area, multiple seating options and an area that can be adapted for unique learning activities. This allows for a variety of grouping formats and lesson types that take into account students’ widely varying learning styles, whilst allowing students to come together to share, collaborate and create.

Flexible Multi-Purpose Furniture

To support flexibility many schools are getting rid of standard desks and replacing them with a variety of different seating options. To allow for maximum utility of the space, flexible, modular, movable furniture is a must in 21st century classroom design. On average, children spend about ten hours of their day sitting, so classroom furniture should accommodate for their natural need to move. Giving students options that allow them to rock, bounce and rotate while they are sitting provides for enhanced circulation and concentration throughout the day. While more and more schools are adopting standing desks as well which allow such movement.

Integrating Technology

It’s no surprise that technology integration is a key aspect of modern classroom design. However, educators and students are leveraging 21st century classroom design that utilizes these upgrades in new and different ways. The modern classroom uses technology as a tool to stimulate curiosity and inspire students’ desire to learn. Technology, whether it is laptops, tablets, or mobile devices, puts information at students’ fingertips and motivates them to research and make discoveries.

Natural Light

Lighting is an important part of 21st-century classroom design. Bright fluorescent lights are being replaced with incandescent light. While windows are being utilized to their fullest to allow as much natural light in as possible. Not only does this make students more comfortable and calm, but being exposed to natural daylight helps students focus and allows a greater sense of well-being. Flexible lighting options are also beneficial as students use technology more frequently and dimmed lights make screens easier to see.

How Natural Pod can Support You in Creating Better Learning Environments

Our aim is always to create learning environments where educators and students can thrive. All our furniture is completely modular and flexible so your space can be adapted to fit the needs of the class, from intimate spaces for reading and play, to collaborative hands on learning, to creative group projects.

We are deeply committed to creating both better educational environments and our responsibility to sustainability. Our goal is always to honour both these two areas by producing healthy, natural, beautiful play and learning spaces that welcome and inspire children and relay the message that they’re valued and they matter.

Thanks to McKenna Wierman ‘4 Key Elements of 21st Century Classroom Design’