There’s a growing realisation that schools will be different for some time to come, even beyond the summer holidays. We’re looking at the challenges and opportunities this presents in a series of blogs imagining the ‘classroom of the future’. 

Having looked at the curriculum, lesson content and initial teacher training, this final article looks at the practical issues around implementing these changes. What will need to be different in classrooms, and what changes will need to be made to school policies and school culture to ensure they succeed? 

The good news is that if you’re one of the schools set to benefit from the UK Government’s £1bn new building fund you might have a real opportunity to implement these ideas.  

Classroom of the future - Virtual Reality

Technical changes

1. Flexible classroom design

We’ve seen throughout these articles that classrooms will fulfil different roles in the future – studios for recording lessons, lecture theatres for whole year groups, traditional teaching rooms or breakout areas for IT or project work. In a new-build school rooms could be built with flexible partitions or moving walls, while existing schools can use soundproofed partitions.

2. Improved, high quality video and audio connections

Many of the ideas suggested in previous blogs require high quality video and audio links with the outside world. Most classrooms now have projectors and speakers to bring the world to the classroom but are less good at capturing full-class video and high-quality audio. Our Lessonvu system is highly suited to this application – designed by teachers to make it easy to record whole lessons and then zoom in to specific parts of the classroom if needed.

3. Integrating remote and local students

It may well be that lessons in the future will have to involve some children in school and others at home or in other classroom ‘bubbles’Adding more screens for the teacher will allow them to involve both groups at the same time. 

It will also be less easy for teachers to give feedback in traditional ways – walking around the room and talking to individualsMany teachers have recommended the use of visualisers to show work – this could be extended by enabling all children to photograph and submit work. An additional ‘voting’ tool would also allow immediate feedback in response to teachers’ questions.  

4. Online storage and integration with other systems 

Schools have been incredibly innovative in lockdown periods, using software such as Google Classrooms and Microsoft Teams for communication and sharing work in the short term.  

Schools can now think about the longer term – storing video and written lesson content for the future and linking these communication systems to assessment, mark book and parental communication systems. This will make it much easier to deal with future lockdowns or partial closures as work can be retrieved and teachers used to support students rather than rapidly creating content.  

Wider school issues 

1. Data protection  

Moving to a system where vastly more information is shared inside and outside of schools requires a different level of consent from students and their parents. We’ve worked with many schools to help them meet the needs of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in the UK this recent blog discusses our findings. 

2. A new learning culture 

The ‘new normal’ is less formal and relies on individual teachers taking more responsibility for their students. But this is also an opportunity to switch to a different way of working. Schools that put more emphasis on sharing and collective learning will do much better than those who rely on traditional ‘command and control’ ways of working – how can you micromanage pupils’ books when they’re not in school? Read our further thoughts on micromanagement here  

The Classroom Of The Future is a series of blogs that discusses the future of classrooms and the overall school landscape, and how technology will play a vital role in helping teachers and school leaders be on top of these changes. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to receive the whole series and the final guide book at the end.