Modern Learning Environments: More Than Just the Furniture

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School districts considering refreshes of physical spaces have more to account for than a furniture overhaul: When looking to create collaborative spaces, educators and administrators first need to understand why a change is necessary.

“There is a reason that people are talking about making collaborative spaces,” Jennifer Brown, an education strategist with CDW•G, said Monday at IDEAcon in Schaumburg, Ill. Brown pointed to the Fourth Industrial Revolution as one of the reasons for the current shift learning environments.

This cyber-physical evolution, which fuses physical, digital and biological worlds, has a direct impact on the kinds of careers schools should be preparing today’s K–12 students for, Brown said. The next iteration of the workplace will be heavy on technical skills, for sure — with cloud computing, artificial intelligence, analytical reasoning and user experience (UX) design becoming increasingly important. But, Brown said, just as important are the soft skills, such as creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and time management.

“Human skills like originality, initiative and critical thinking are likely to increase in value as technology and automation advances,” she said.

Schools are jumping on the device bandwagon, and educators understand more than ever that technology is important, Brown said. But schools also require a pedagogical shift for the technology to make a difference — and for students to learn and integrate those soft skills

“You have to somehow cultivate those soft skills. Without that pedagogical shift, it’s meaningless,” Brown said.

Modern Learning Environments: More Than Just the Furniture
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