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Classroom of the Future

location_on Shaftesbury, United Kingdom

Lessons from the classroom of the Future

We have designed a classroom that disrupts the usual model of learning. Lessons focus on interdisciplinary learning through super concepts. We have partnered with industry to create an inspiring space, one that uses warm technology to push the boundaries of what is possible in the classroom. This is a learning space for the future!

HundrED 2023
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Overview

HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED Global Collection 2023

2020

Established

15.5K

Children/users

12

Countries
Organisation
Not-for-profit
Target group
All
Updated
November 22nd, 2022
I wanted to create a classroom of tomorrow, a space to push the boundaries of what is possible in the classroom setting.
Alex More, Lead Teacher of Innovation in Teaching & Learning Shaftesbury School

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

We saw the potential to create a space where knowledge and skills could co-exist, a space where technology supports the teachers and doesn't try to replace them. We have designed a learning environment that is engaging and practical. Through progressive teaching and warm technology, we encourage young people to be brilliant owners of knowledge, not just consumers of it.

How does your innovation work in practice?

Lessons are taught through interdisciplinary learning with content that overlaps subject disciplines. We tackle contemporary and challenging concepts such as climate change, knife crime, and future food and explore the 'what if?' alongside the 'what is?'
The impact of our work to date has been transformative with students highly engaged in lessons, working in teams to solve complex problems. Each team has a leader, a scribe, a researcher, and a presenter. The room is equipped with 13 whiteboards fixed to the walls and a motherboard. Teams create their ideas then present them to a captive and critical audience; their peers. The future classroom is being used by our school and other local schools to support teaching, learning, innovation, teacher training, staff development, STEAM Lab, parent engagement, and coaching. We have recently partnered with schools in Ghana and Sweden to teach lessons in real-time to learners via hybrid learning.

How has it been spreading?

To fund phase 1, we reached out to EdTech companies to help sponsor the future classroom. Epson, CatchBox, Gratnells, Biotecture, and SatComs innovation came onboard which allowed us to create an amazing space at no cost to the school. Word spread and press releases helped us share our work whilst connecting us to a global audience of educators and innovators. Shaftesbury School trained 42 of its 62 teachers to use the room and opened the doors to local primary schools and community groups. Projects to date are fully scalable to all contexts and focus on the STEAM disciplines and intergenerational learning. Our work with super concepts has been adapted to other settings locally and now globally. Other teachers are adopting our agile learning styles, thinking teaching methods, and ideas.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

Get in touch with Alex More via email at alex.more@shaftesburyschool.co.uk or check out the blog at www.educationalshipsters.com
Check out the YouTube Channel at Mr. More PE or find me on LinkedIn: Alex More, Lead Teacher of Innovation in Teaching & Learning at Shaftesbury School
Follow our journey on Instagram @shaftesbury_school

Impact & scalability

HundrED Academy Reviews
This project is already used in 12 countries, and has the potential to grow even further. Technology, for example, is a very relevant part of life, so skills involving it will remain valuable as this innovation expands.
“The Classroom of the Future” is a great innovation that fosters classroom interaction and peer to peer learning. It challenges the students to take charge of their learning whilst allowing the teachers to monitor and correct where possible.
- Academy member
Academy review results
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process

Media

TEDxYouth@ShaftesburySchool announced - future classroom inspires
We are delighted to announce that we will be hosting a TEDxYouth event - Shaftesbury School Youth events are one of our most creative TEDx event types, since they are organized by, or catered toward, kids. As you might guess, these events are all about imagination and having fun.
Future Classroom in Ghana receives Tech
We are delighted that the Future Classroom Ghana is close to opening. All of the technology has arrived and Daniel and the team have done a great job preparing the space. 
Announcing the FUTURE SERIES
We are delighted to announce the Future Series - a creative series of workshops and seminars for our students. Students will engage with industry experts from a range of disciplines and backgrounds to enhance their knowledge of prevalent issues. Linked to the UNESCO SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), sessions adopt an interdisciplinary approach to learning. 
LIS (London Interdisciplinary School) visit the Future Classroom
The amazing LIS ran sessions for 65 of our students in the Future Classroom. London Interdisciplinary School is a forward-thinking new University who are challenging the status quo in education. They challenge their students to tackle real-world problems, combining research methods with complex problem solving.  
Future Classroom in Ghana announced
We are delighted to announce that in partnership with Africa ICT Right we will be opening a Future Classroom in Tema, near Accra.The Future Classroom has been sponsored by Epson, VEX Robotics, Jabra, CatchBox, and RedBox VR and will be a hub for innovation for 2,000 children based in the area. Shaftesbury School was introduced to Daniel at Africa ICT Right via Hundred.org.  12 students in the UK learn in real-time via Zoom with 12 students in Accra. The lessons are led by Alex More and focus on work around the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), technology, social justice, and AI (Artificial Intelligence). The students have developed great working relationships and the UK-based cohort has been fundraising to purchase some educational technology equipment to help transform the learning experience for the students in Ghana. This work and a nomination for Teacher of the Year (Alex More, Digital Innovation) had led to press interest and a healthy level of funding and support for the project, but, more input is required to deliver transformational changes. 
Shaftesbury School teacher in line to win teacher of the year award - Gillingham News
https://www.gillingham-news.co.uk/shaftesbury-school-teacher-in-line-to-win-teacher-of-the-year-award/
Pearson National Teaching Awards - Alex More awarded Silver Award in the Digital Innovator of the Year category
Statement from SAST (Shaftesbury School ) Headteacher Donna London-Hill We are delighted to announce that Alex More, teacher at Shaftesbury School has been named as one of 80 Pearson National Teaching Award Silver Award winners across the country. Alex is honoured with a Silver Award in The Award for Digital Innovator of the Year for his outstanding commitment to changing the lives of the children he works with every day.Alex was surprised with the award at an assembly in school with party poppers and a cake!Alex is the Lead Teacher of Innovation in Teaching and Learning at Shaftesbury School. He is an active head of faculty and leads the school's award-winning STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) programme and the ‘Future Classroom’. He has a keen interest in teaching, learning, educational technology, and progressive pedagogy.Alex is currently completing his EdD through distanced learning at Bath University and has recently become a Hundred Ambassador, working in an advisory capacity to judge global innovations. He has had a significant impact on Shaftesbury School’s students, parents and the local community as well as making global connections, including with a school in Ghana.Donna London-Hill, Headteacher of Shaftesbury School said “We are so incredibly proud of Alex and he is thoroughly deserving of this national award; his energy and drive for thinking about, and bringing the future of education to the heart of our school is second to none. I also want to congratulate Becky Yeo, another of our teachers who was highly commended; she is an incredibly caring, passionate teacher. We are very fortunate here at Shaftesbury School to be surrounded by brilliant teachers and also our non-teaching staff, who go out of their way daily to provide students with support and excellence in education”.As a Silver Award winner, Alex has now been shortlisted to win one of just 16 Gold Awards later in the year. These once in a lifetime achievements will be broadcast on the BBC’s The One Show as part of a week-long celebration of teaching, which sees famous faces honour award winners every night in the run up to the ceremony. This is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the exceptional school staff who have worked wonders to bring together their local communities despite the challenges of the past few years. The Silver Award winners are being honoured as part of the wider celebrations for national ‘Thank a Teacher Day’, bringing together everyone across the country to celebrate the schools and colleges at the heart of our communities. 
We host 2030: Choosing our Future 'Sustainability Event'
As a follow up to the Looking Forward event, Shaftesbury School collaborate with Planet Shaftesbury for an evening of inspiring talks and seminars focused on the Dorset NetZero report. Our students are the eco-hosts, welcoming the community into our school to work on complex issues that require drastic action to resolve amidst the backdrop of climate change. 
Shaftesbury School host Looking Forward: A Climate symposium for young people
On Weds 11th May Shaftesbury School welcomed 230 young people from a range of settings to the school for a climate symposium, think COP26 but more uplifting!Students attending took a pledge to drive change in their setting, inspired by experts in the field of sustainability, climate change, and marine ecosystems. Working with local climate group, Planet Shaftesbury we hope the legacy becomes meaningful change. This event will be showcased at the Hundred event on 19/05 and via Digital Dorset who filmed the event. 
The Future of Food - world of tomorrow
Inspired by the Ikea SPACE10 project, 24 Primary school students from Motcombe followed up a previous visit to the Future Classroom with a cooking experience. Mr. Dines from Motcombe brought his Year 5 class to Shaftesbury School to work on future solutions to food shortages. The students were tasked with solving some complex problems, such as; What will we eat in the future? How will we feed a growing population? The solution was bugs, mealworms, crickets, and insect solutions that are high in protein and sustainable. Students came into our professional kitchen with Chef Clive and 8 student helpers from Shaftesbury School to make their creations into a reality, yuk! They had to eat them too. 
Whales and Blue Carbon Workshop for Year 7
We invited 26 new Year 7 STEAM ambassadors to take part in a workshop about how whales are the engineers of Marine ecosystems. The workshop was led by Jocelyn, a world-leading Ph.D. Marine Biologist and specialist in the field of whales. Whale Poo absorbs carbon and whales are amazing at maintaining a healthy ecosystem, they are vital to our oceans. Students learned about the theory then created a live simulation. The follow up session a week later saw students present back to experts Frank and Nynke who are based in Holland via Zoom. 
Shaftesbury School team up with GF Piping to work on the issues of water scarcity
Today 25 of our STEAM ambassadors pitched their solutions to the problem of water scarcity to the team Mona Vogt Rebecca Schilling and Christopher Merrell GF Piping SystemsThe session today was a follow-up from the workshop last week, bridging industry with education via our #futureclassroomStudents had to work in teams to come up with a solution to water scarcity and loss, working on UNESCO #sustainabledevelopmentgoalsToday was all about the pitch, testing their ideas and solutions with industry experts, and gaining invaluable feedback in the process. Thank you to GF Piping Systems#education #education #team #work #thankyou #testing #water #students Shaftesbury School Sherborne Area Schools' Trust Catchbox - the engagement microphone Epson Europe B.V.
Ghana Project reaches £1.5k (Feb 2022 update)
So far, collaborative fundraising efforts have raised £1.5k. This includes a GoFundMe page, non-uniform days, sweet sales and VR workshops. Lessons continue virtually between Shaftesbury School and Ghana every week. 
Developing Literacy skills through VR (Virtual Reality)
The Future Classroom was the testbed for a new type of learning, Literacy through VR engaging 24 students in a pioneering new approach More info and impact report to follow soon
Using Virtual Reality to engage parents
We invited parents back to school to work with their children in VR (Virtual Reality)Working in pairs, families worked through Curiious Immersive's WISE program of Social and Emotional Learning. This ground-breaking study was run to engage parents in learning. An impact report was submitted to Hundred.ORG by Lead Teacher Alex More, illuminating the benefits of interacting through VR. Email Alex More to get a copy of the impact report. 
Working with Sontronics Microphones
Sontronics microphones are world-renowned for their excellent microphones. CEO Trevor Coley and team visiting the Future Classroom to run a one-off workshop, challenging students to engineer and build microphones from scratch whilst learning about sound and digital music. Our ambassadors were tasked with creating new products and pitching their ideas back to the team at Sontronics. 
Working with Team GB Adaptive Surfing
Our STEAM ambassadors worked with Team GB Adaptive surfing coach Andy Joyce to engineer surf crafts that could be used for adaptive surfers to compete on.The workshop formed part of the STEAM Futures series where we invite external industry experts into the Future Classroom to work with our ambassadors. 
STEAM Workshop: Future of Motoring with Volvo
Volvo ran a workshop for our STEAM ambassadors on the Future of Motoring. Students sat in EV cars and worked with industry experts to consider what the future of motoring might look like ... electro magnets? Hydrogen? or No cars at all? 
Future of Food with local Primary School
Motcombe School were invited into the Future Classroom to work with student leaders in Years 7 and 8. Students were tasked with solving the problem of future food, what will we eat in the future? Working in teams, they had to create new foods then cook them in the school's state of the art kitchen. 
Shaftesbury students invited to compete in an International Hackathon
3 students and 2 staff competed in an International Hackathon event with fellow students from across 7 countries. The teams were tasked with coming up with solutions for Future problems in a changing world. This event happened at the weekend, hosted in Sweden by Hundred.org ambassadors 
Shaftesbury School host the Festival of the Future and run STEAM event
Shaftesbury School which is part of SAST hosted a series of workshops and events, highlighting the great work that is being done around innovation and future proofing at the school. 
STEAM wars
STEAM WarsAlex More, Lead Teacher of Innovation at Shaftesbury School led a STEAM workshop for 50 Year 6 Primary School children from North Dorset.The workshop was part of the Festival of the Future and was held at the newly opened Dorset Centre of Excellence. Taking the Future Classroom concept on the road, students had to work on future technology solutions, ideas that could help them learn in a changing world. 
Crowd Funding to bring 12 students from Ghana to the UK to learn with our students
For the last 6 months, Shaftesbury School STEAM students have been collaborating on an online classroom project with students from Accra, Ghana; bringing learning together across the continents via Shaftesbury School's frontline technology in its 'innovative future classroom'.This has been a transformative project for all students. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors we have been able to provide our students with this phenomenal opportunity. 12 students from Shaftesbury (UK) join 12 students from Ghana (Africa) live to learn via Zoom. The lessons have been transformational, opening young eyes to the world and spanning cultures. Students have been working side by side on issues such as climate change, ghost nets, and colonising Mars.We are asking for funding to take this project to a place we never dreamed of. It was a dream whispered by a young student from Ghana, Brightness, who wants to overcome the barriers of technology, power supply, and resources that she experiences in her own country. She dreams of learning together with our STEAM students and accessing our technology. We want to make that happen, and we need your help.We want to make that dream a reality. This fundraising page if to launch our initiative that brings her classroom closer to ours. We want to bring her 12 classmates to Shaftesbury School in June 2022. Help us bring her vision to life. Be part of a life changing educational project.
Education of the Future
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIpmVs9L3Pc
Steve Harris - The Future Classroom Project: Digital technology transforming education in Dorset - BBC Sounds
BBC Sounds Visit
FutureClassroomFeedback (1).pptx
Impact Report for Phase 1 of the Future Classroom Project
BV April 21
https://viewer.joomag.com/bv-april-21/0332140001617327870/p28?short&fbclid=IwAR2a2vvJ2RRGQAW4S5gU1klcVBZlstVhIT-dHDXuNcr3DMLCvP4PMl8AkFs
4 part NEO Chats about innovation from the Inside Out
We discuss Ofsted, Innovation from inside a traditional school setting, Corona Virus, Edtech and WISE (a new Social Emotional health VR ecosystem). Part 1: How do you implement "cutting edge" innovations but stay within the confines of the education system and inspections?Part 2: Do you find that technology is able to push pedagogy further rather than only supporting it?Part 3: Does there have to be a change in the traditional way of learning and should learning be completely transversal?Part 4: What is the motivation for what you do and the way you do it? Do you see yourself as part of a larger movement for change?
'It’s radically different to anything I’ve ever seen in education'
Shaftesbury School working with WISE and RedBoxVR
Catchbox - the engagement microphone
https://catchbox.com/blog/improve-your-hybrid-classroom-setupAs educators continue to grapple with shifting classroom rules, schools and universities increasingly look to the hybrid classroom model as a way to withstand any restrictions the pandemic might throw at them, whilst continuing to provide high-quality face-to-face lessons. The hybrid classroom setup has gained favor among teachers and parents alike, as it enables some students to attend in-class, while others connect remotely through Zoom or a different conferencing platform. This, in turn, minimizes on-site student numbers and helps ensure social distancing, allowing, for example, children of parents who cannot afford to supervise them at home to continue their education uninterrupted. All students have access to the classroom and can interact with the content of the lesson.In this article, we'll take a look at the importance of audio in a hybrid classroom setup. We'll also cover what are the pros and cons of a budget setup, and how a more advanced setup can help ensure seamless teacher-to-student and student-to-student communication in a hybrid classroom setting.Is a hybrid classroom setup the same as a typical remote teaching setup?Kind of. If you're an educator that has engaged in any form of remote teaching, then you probably already have the equipment for a rudimentary hybrid classroom setup - a computer, a webcam, and a microphone. This is sufficient as long as both the in-class students and the ones connecting remotely can hear and see you clearly enough to absorb the material presented, which is the main purpose of the hybrid classroom model.  While the webcam is likely to do a good enough job, the biggest problem with this setup is that you'll probably have to remain seated at your computer for the duration of the lessons, as the computer microphone will struggle to pick up your voice from afar. This can hurt engagement, as it limits your movement. That said, there's a simple solution to this - get a good quality external microphone.The pros and cons of a budget classroom microphone setupIf the teacher conducts the lesson sitting at their computer, rarely moving away from it, then almost any $15 microphone from the local tech store will suffice and serve to significantly improve the audio quality for students connecting remotely.These microphones typically are plug-and-play and will require no complex setups beyond just plugging it into the computer's audio jack or USB socket. Nowadays, even the cheaper solutions are likely to have some noise suppression/cancellation functionalities, helping minimize or eliminate anything other than the teacher's voice, and will all in all help enhance the quality of the lesson. However, these do come with limitations, the most notable being a lack of freedom of movement, which will be an issue with every desktop microphone. On top of that, in-class students will find it difficult to engage with their peers joining from home, as the single microphone at the front of the classroom will struggle to pick up what they're saying without the students having to shout. Any efforts to supplement the audio setup with additional microphones for the in-class students will significantly increase the complexity and cost of the setup unless a package solution is acquired.Outside the box: Why Catchbox Plus offers much more than a typical classroom microphone systemIn an ideal hybrid classroom setup, the teacher should be to move around freely, delivering the class without worrying about factors like background noise and echo. At the same time, there should be a possibility for distanced student-to-student interaction between those in-class and those joining remotely. This is where the Catchbox Plus system offers a unique solution.Consisting of two wireless microphones (a teacher mic and the throwable audience mic) and a receiver, The Catchbox plus system ensures perfect audio for any hybrid classroom setup. The Presenter mic is a light, hands-free wireless microphone typically worn on a lanyard or attached to a lavalier mic.The Catchbox audience mic is a throwable wireless microphone encased in a super-soft and ultra-lightweight material that allows it to be thrown around without risk of breaking the tech or hurting others. This allows for better student-to-student communication.Catchbox Plus classroom microphone systemWhen it comes to the setup, the Catchbox plus system is a plug-and-play solution, which means that all the teacher has to do is plug the receiver into their computer's USB socket and then set audio input to “Catchbox” in the audio settings of whatever conferencing platform they use - it'll be up and running in moments. The Presenter mic offers freedom of movement for the teacher while capturing every word said clearly and understandably for students connecting from home.For the students, the Catchbox audience mic is an ideal solution as it can be passed around to those looking to speak to their remote classmates without breaking distancing rules and having to come into close contact with their in-class friends. The students can throw the Catchbox to each other, which also makes for an engaging activity. By speaking into the Catchbox, the students at home will hear their classmates with the same clarity as they do the teacher and help break down communication barriers present in lesser hybrid classroom setups.Both the Presenter mic and the Audience mic have rechargeable batteries and hold enough power to last the entire duration of a school day, which means no replacing batteries every few days and no frantic charging during breaks.Be sure to check out our guide to hygiene best practices when using Catchbox Products!Improve your hybrid classroom setup in 4 simple stepsThe Catchbox Plus system can help to create a better hybrid learning experience by providing audio quality to both in-class and remote students. Here's how to get started:1) Plug the Catchbox receiver into your computer via USB and turn on the receiver2) Press the power button on the presenter mic to turn it on. The teacher should wear the Presenter mic on a lanyard or with a lavalier when giving a lesson3) Go to your computer's audio settings and set the audio input to the microphone. Make sure to also check your settings on your video conferencing software (Zoom, Microsoft teams etc.)4) Add the Audience mic so in-class students can also share what matters! Turn the mic on by pressing the power button on the Transmitter and then return the Transmitter to the Catchbox CoverThat's it! You now have a simple and professional hybrid classroom setup that will ensure students in class and at home can see and hear everything they need to. For a more in-depth setup guide and instructions for other use-cases, check out our detailed Plus system user manualhybrid classroom teacher microphoneFinal remarksA hybrid classroom setup with good audio is key for a smooth teaching and learning experience. While a budget setup can go a long way, additional elements that allow for a more natural communication process, such as freedom of movement and adequate student-to-student communication options, enhance the quality of the lesson and restore some normalcy to an otherwise limiting model.
Overworked teachers call for clarity and collaboration, new study finds
FE News Article
Build the classroom of the future with these 3 key pillars
Book Widgets Future Classroom post
The Classroom of the Future? – Ednology
Ednology blog post
Biotecture Supports Future Classroom Project | Biotecture
When biology and technology come together ...
Future Classroom Day 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLbsBgRIi4c&list=PL6ogPVjKYBfqMyjMb77-0qqA6UQQL6JXD&index=9
Shaftesbury School tests the ‘future classroom’ project
Article from the Salisbury Journal, by Gemma Gibson 15th October 2020A SCHOOL has transformed what was once a traditional classroom into a futuristic learning space, with touch screens, a green screen, virtual reality, and augmented reality just some of its newest features.The ‘Future Classroom’ launched in Shaftesbury School last week, offering a new and technology-focussed learning experience for all pupils.Specialising in STEM subjects in particular - Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics - the school says it is one of ten in the country which is trialing the future classroom technology, and the school’s lead teacher of innovation in teaching and learning Alex More said it has launched “at a good time”.Speaking to the Journal Alex said: “We’re using this technology to improve and make learning more interesting, it’s just really exciting to be bringing this innovation and a new layer of teaching to the school."Before Covid-19 we were moving in this direction, the world is changing and fast because of technology and we need to embrace that.”He added: “We want students to be creators of knowledge rather than consumers, so it’s all about getting students to engage with this technology and make that divide from the older model.“There’s nothing wrong with the older traditional methods of teaching and there is a place for it, but we want to use this technology to continue embedding knowledge and skills.”Alex said that around 40 members of staff have already been trained within the school to use the new classroom, and pupils are “excited to try something different”.Alongside Alex and lead practitioner Olly Cooper, sponsors Epson, CatchBox, Gratnells, Biotecture and SamComs Innovation are involved with bringing the project to life.The classroom is equipped with an Epson projector, Mozaik 3D software and a visual board, as well as speaker and document cameras.Alongside the launch of the classroom, 12 students have also volunteered to be part of the ‘Experimental Class of Tomorrow’ case study, which has a focus on learning about issues facing the planet.External industries across the world have been in contact with the school to hear about the project, with Alex describing the global response as “phenomenal”.He added: “This is all in the experimental stage still, but [the classroom] has been amazing so far, better than what was advertised, and it’s had brilliant support from teachers, staff and the students, who are the most important part.”
Experimental Class of Tomorrow
12 students have volunteered to be part of ECOT, a new case study that focuses on 5 big issues facing our planet in the future, framed as ‘concepts’. ECOT stands for Experimental Class of Tomorrow. The team will tackle the pressing issues of their generation. We aim to harness their enthusiasm and curiosity to help create the next wave of scientists ready to face the challenges head-on.Inspired by the SPACE10 project, this concept tackles the challenge of growing healthy and sustainable food for a growing global population. Students will investigate how food can be grown sustainably using futureproof recipes to eat better, both for ourselves and for the planet. Table-top hydroponics, mealworm burgers, spirulina bioreactors, and dogless hotdogs are on the menu and could be the new normal, tasty and nutritious.Inspired by Mike Berners-Lee’s ‘There is no Planet B’ movement, this concept focuses on the climate challenge, specifically through glocal temperature rises, carbon budgets, exponential carbon growth, offshoring carbon, the ‘carbon curve’, the rebound effect, how to keep fossil fuels in the ground, other forms of greenhouse gases, renewable energy and how we can take carbon back out of the atmosphere.
Teaching from the Back of the Classroom
As a teacher of PE, I am used to coaching from the sidelines and this works in a practical subject. However, I have always struggled to make this transition in the classroom when teaching theory, until now. 2020 and the events that unfolded, notably the pandemic, forced me to teach from the sidelines through necessity rather than choice. As the education world came to grips with remote teaching and hybrid learning, I found myself delivering lessons from my laptop rather than face to face. Initially, this had its challenges. How would I engage students? How would I keep their interest without physically being there? Would they mind me boring? etc etc In the midst of the pandemic I was reunited with an old article which once sparked a fire in my own teaching: Alison King's famous article 'from sage on the stage to guide on the side'. This was a writing ahead of its time and one that challenged the education world to do better. So, what does the future of better look like? We know teachers are creatures of habit and there are good reasons for this. Routines are essential in creating healthy thriving learning environments. COVID forced me to reflect on my own teaching habits and sure enough direct instruction, with me at the front of the class was taking over again. If you walk the corridors of most schools you will see this model being played out over and over again. Typically, this involves students sat at desks and the teacher stood at the front of the class imparting knowledge. Traditionalists call this method the direct instruction method.The primary motivator for building the Future Classroom was to shake things up and challenge myself to think and teach in a different way. A small team of us starting renovating an old art room in March this year. A room that would become our classroom of the future.  I consulted students and asked for their views. The aim was to design an engaging place to learn, one that was equipped with technology and innovation in equal measures. Collectively, we opted for the 'no desks' approach. As liberating as it sounds, it was a bold move to go for a chairs only set up. Students would write on whiteboards around the room, the learning would be agile and flexible, like the workplace. This meant I would have to be flexible and adaptable to fit this model,  so no more teaching from the front! And so the reigns were off, the experiment was live and the jury was out. My inner jury was telling me this was the right thing to do, to become 10% braver and move outside of my comfort zone. The jury of my peers were skeptical and many couldn't see how the future classroom concept would work. However, the most important jury of all; the students were full of passion, ideas and suggestions for this bold new venture. They were onboard and welcomed the change. In September, the project went live and I found myself teaching from the side of the room. As part of a social media campaign, students were asked to vote on their preference for furniture and what teacher set up they preferred. Interestingly, they went for mobile teacher desk on wheels which could be transported around the room. Now I had a mobile desk I had no excuse to teach from the front. My students were telling me they wanted me to be agile and 'free from the front'. So, I obliged. So, what did I learn from experimenting with different places to teach from within the room? Firstly, teaching from the back of the room has two clear advantages.Students focus on the content rather than the teacher. I am quite animated when I teach so students often focus on my antics which can distract from the learning. I can see what they see so can iron out any imperfections as they ariseTeaching from the side of the room is more of a challenge as you have students' eye-line. I found that 'guiding from the side' works best in the last 27 minutes of the teaching model I use. Students tend to prefer direct instruction at the start, albeit from the back of the class in this context. At the root of the knowledge vs skills, the debate is the logical assumption that students require knowledge in the first instance so they can exercise their skill in asserting what is known. I agree with this. In conclusion, teaching away from the front of the classroom has been a challenge, but it's been a fun one. I like the new normal and prefer being based at the back or the side of the room. From here, I can coach, support, advise and guide rather than tell, inform and direct. I suppose the greatest takeaway has been the students responses to this model, they love it! It helps in our context that we have an amazing future classroom to experiment in. The technology has helped by giving students a medium to explore contents at greater depth in the last 27 minutes of the lesson. I'll finish this blog post with some images of students engaged in their learning. Note: I don't appear in any of the images because here the learners are the main actors on the stage, and the stage is  theirs. 

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