New report: Guidelines on Exploring and Adapting Learning Spaces in Schools

How innovative are learning spaces in your country? Do they help stimulate collaborative teaching and learning using technology? Adapting learning spaces is set to become an increasingly important issue for policy makers and school leaders, as it facilitates innovative pedagogies using technology in the classroom.

For this reason, European Schoolnet's Interactive Classroom Working Group has just published Guidelines on Exploring and Adapting Learning Spaces in Schools. The guidelines and case studies from across Europe provide school leaders and teachers with the timely opportunity to consider how learning spaces, technologies and pedagogical approaches can be synthesized in the school environment to meet the needs of the learner in today's society.

The current picture regarding learning spaces in schools across Europe is varied and inconsistent. Some countries have integrated practices that allow the development of flexible learning spaces as part of the national strategy for ICT and innovation in schools while for others it is still not a policy priority.

The newly published guidelines provide practical advice and support to schools that are starting to explore how to develop and adapt learning spaces in order to enable the introduction of innovative pedagogies using technology in the classroom.

The report looks at some of the key literature findings on learning spaces and highlights the major benefits of adapting learning spaces. It provides suggestions for how schools can start to consider different learning spaces with some important considerations for school leaders, practical advice for teachers who want to adapt their classroom including an introductory audit tool, and finally explores the national context across eight European countries.

European Schoolnet's Future Classroom Lab is featured in the publication as an important example of a learning space designed to introduce different stakeholders to new teaching and learning approaches involving the innovative use of ICT. European Schoolnet's Future Classroom Lab, just like the many learning labs it has inspired across the globe, challenges educators to rethink their current pedagogical practice within a flexible and reconfigurable space. This new publication has been supported by Steelcase and Microsoft, two major industry partners of European Schoolnet's Future Classroom Lab, convinced of the need to transform learning spaces.

The guidelines have been developed with input from Ministries of Education in the European Schoolnet Interactive Classroom Working Group (ICWG). This new publication is the result of work with policy makers, advisers, school leaders and teachers from Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, and Switzerland.