Classroom Furniture Imitates Life
Identifying trends enables foresight. Sometimes those trends appear in obscure places and people don’t make the connection. For example, in education circles, what’s to be learned by looking at the kind of classroom furniture being manufactured these days? I think it is something significant.
Perhaps it is best to first consider that US colleges and universities,the ultimate destination of many of many K-12 students, are now seeking to "host the discussion" rather than simply house the genius. In other words, they want to be the facilitators of innovation. It takes student collaboration to achieve this.The ability to work successfully in groups is a 21st Century skill and is not innate simply because we're human.
University building construction and renovation is reflecting this shift as spaces are being created to accommodate the goal of social learning. At the K-12 level, classroom configuration changes have been occurring to allow for both group and individual work. Why? At the core of the 21st Cenury learning environment is the use of classroom technology which includes computers, 3D classroom projectors, whiteboards, document cameras, mobile devices, tablets and many new forms of interactive technology. Therefore, classroom furniture manufacturers play a role in supporting these new spaces created for collaboration. They do this by allowing the technology to be used in the classroom and not be stymied by the severe limitations that a room’s furniture can impose. To that end, they are creating things like mobile device carts for charging and synching technology, mobile interactive white boards, and mobile tables for computers and student interaction. There are a host of other examples as well. Watch the trends in manufacturing, they tell us a lot about ourselves.