The Centre of Excellence for Research on Educational Innovation at Universidad Europea and the company Steelcase, a global leader in equipment for workspaces, have presented the results of Steelcase Space and Educational Facilities Study.
The study took a year to complete and included more than 650 interviews and quantitative and qualitative analysis. The study confirmed that for innovation to occur in the classroom, as indicated by Sergio Calvo, Director of the School of Doctoral and Research, "it is essential to develop the best educational spaces. The key is for the spaces to evolve. Just as options in education and degree programs have evolved, so to have the ways students and teachers relate to one another." Alejandro Pociña, President of Steelcase Spain and Portugal is "very satisfied with the results of the first study. The opportunity to continue this work is vital for us, as we believe that our contribution to educational spaces can result in increased productivity for both students and teachers."
Classroom flexibility is key: tables, chairs, teacher podium, computer outlets, chalkboards, light, etc. The student and the teacher need to control the space of the classroom and be able to modify it depending on their needs.
For students, the ideal classroom equipment varies according to the program. For example, students in Social Sciences prefer chairs that allow quick changes to support individual and group work easily, but students in technical careers, such as architecture, need larger workspaces. It is also important to consider proper access to electricity and the internet and provide ergonomic solutions for intensive use.
Confirmed that there is a high need for creating space for teaching and learning outside the classroom, that is, spaces that students can use to meet and learn, not only the classic coffee shop, but others such as corners, hallways, banks, lobbies, etc. Therefore, it is necessary to rethink the equipment of educational spaces and transform these spaces to optimize complementary areas of study or project work. Thus, anywhere on campus can be a place of teaching and learning.
The teacher is no longer the center of the room and becomes a guide or mentor in the student's educational process. Therefore, it is necessary to reconsider the appropriate spaces for tutoring, where teachers and students can work outside the classroom.
The academic programs currently being delivered are becoming increasingly closer to professional work environments, an evolution of the educational model, and therefore require an adjustment of teaching spaces. With this new conception of education - more horizontal and participatory - the student learning environment needs to be more flexible.
This article was originally written in Spanish and has been translated into English to be shared on the Laureate International Universities website.