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Back to School: How Classroom Furniture Has Evolved Over Time

School is very much back in session. As collaborative learning continues to rise, more classrooms are foregoing tradition for functional, flexible furniture that can be adapted to fit the needs of the modern student.

August 31, 2018

The standard classroom has seen a recent renaissance. Today’s modern classroom is a stark change from the classrooms of yesteryear; as technology has evolved, the classroom has shifted to meet the changing needs of education.

What was once a classroom filled with tiered desks positioned to the front of the room is now an open-space, collaborative learning environment where students can lounge, engage with a book (or tablet) and coordinate together on classroom tasks.

As collaborative learning continues to rise, more classrooms are foregoing tradition for functional, flexible furniture that can be adapted to fit the needs of the modern student.

Below we’ve highlighted recent trends in classroom furniture -- from elementary school to postsecondary education.

Breakout Spaces

To foster communication, creativity and collaboration, modern classrooms are adopting breakout spaces, a makeshift form of space where students can gather to brainstorm or work together on class projects in an informal setting. Breakout spaces also allow educators to meet with small groups of students for one-on-one instruction.

To accommodate these collaborative spaces, classroom furniture has evolved to be modular and able to seat multiple people easily. Most importantly, however, is that modern classroom furniture is movable and can shift to meet the various needs of the students.

According to EdTech, breakout spaces don’t require a classroom, either. They can evolve outside the classroom. “The stairs can work as a classroom, meeting space or place for multimedia presentation. With flexibility in where and how they learn, students are able to cultivate skills needed for the workforce,” says EdTech.

Technology-Friendly

Because the modern classroom is adaptable and extends beyond just four walls, classroom furniture is evolving to meet technological needs, including charging outlets and USB ports for laptops and tablets.

No matter where students are, they can plug in their devices and learn.

Branding

Furniture, especially in higher education settings, is a great means of branding a space. Often times, a university will create a pleasing color scheme that touches on the school’s branded colors, so a student will create a connection with the school’s identity no matter where they are on campus.

As opposed to past classrooms, educators are opting to personalize their classrooms to create an inviting space where students feel connected to their school.

Re-Imagined Spaces

Students are reimagining traditional spaces as modern spaces for technology and education. In the same vein as breakout spaces, learning is taking place outside of the classroom, and “third spaces,” places outside of workplace and home such as libraries and cafes, are becoming hubs for creativity and collaboration.

The modern campus library is being reimagined as a place where students can meet to discuss projects and assignments. Library furniture has transformed to meet this need and have dedicated areas for studying, sectioned off by dividers, and areas for collaboration with movable, flexible furniture options.

The Future of Furniture

Classroom furniture is becoming increasingly multi-use and fosters the ability to learn outside of the traditional mold of education. As technology evolves, educational institutions are focusing on adapting classroom furniture to accommodate student needs -- whether that’s within four walls or beyond.

From space planning to installation, Office Environments creates innovative, well-designed workplaces that allow your organization to thrive. Drop by our many locations in Alabama and Florida to learn more about us and how we can transform your workplace.