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Observe and Design: redesigning the school

What will schools look like in 2025? How will innovations such as fast Wi-Fi connections, 1:1 computing, and bring-your-own-device affect the teaching/learning process? Will learning take place in the traditional classroom dynamic, or will there be more flexible, open spaces, and more independent learning?

These are the questions and challenges that Ministries of Education across Europe are contemplating as they develop strategies to engage with developments in educational technologies and pedagogical practices. The iTEC project is working to develop the classroom of the future by developing innovative learning activities. These activities, developed with input from all stakeholders in the educational process, provide teachers with the space and support to introduce the principle of innovation to their classroom practice.

On 14 January, pupils and teachers from Immaculata Instituut, Malle, Belgium visited the Future Classroom Lab in Brussels as part of the activities of the iTEC project. The Future Classroom Lab, an initiative of European Schoolnet, is a learning space for developing and piloting new pedagogical practices, and testing new educational technologies. The school visit was part of the iTEC school pilots; the class was using the iTEC learning activity ‘Observe and Design’ to propose a new design for their school. Both pupils and teachers offered contributions on how they would like the education system to evolve, with an emphasis on more interactive learning environments, and self-directed learning.

When asked what they thought the classroom would be like in 2025, the group offered some interesting responses:

“You work more in a group, and you work more with your teacher. It’s not that the teacher is a level above, it’s more on the same level. You can answer questions in a bigger group rather than a teacher picking out one person.” - Axel Zimmermann, pupil

“Do we still need to put pupils in large groups only according to age? Or is there a new way to move around that; do we perhaps put them in groups together according to interests and how far they are developed in certain topics?” – Eef Dubois, teacher