Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

May 26, 2010

Ideal Classroom Design for 21st Century Learning


5-25-2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

21st Century learning spaces - creative solutions!


We are very happy to have Adrienne Michetti (@amichetti) providing our #edchat summary this week. Adrienne has taught in several countries and is a great ambassador for the use of technology in learning. See her bio at the end of the post.

The term “21st Century Learning” gets tossed around a lot on Twitter, Ning, Facebook, and plenty of other places where tech-inspired teachers connect. It’s a natural term to bring into any conversation about technology and media being used in current classrooms. So, it’s no surprise that while some may not feel the need to use a term like this at all, others feel that education needs to seriously reconsider the way traditional classrooms are designed for learning. Today’s Edchat was about how design of spaces needs to be congruent with 21st century skills — whatever you feel those spaces and skills may be! We don’t all agree, and this is part of what made today’s Edchat so enlightening. The respectful push-pull of the conversation allows for innovative ideas to steep.

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion:

  • constant, ubiquitous connectivity
  • moving beyond just 4-walled classrooms
  • flexible, blended learning environments
  • imagining the future
  • students as designers of their environments
  • class size limits as fundamental to thinking about learning spaces
  • collaborative environments allowing global connections
  • studio-based learning
  • empowerment and autonomy of teachers and students to design spaces
  • connections to communities and access to tools
  • space for reflection and creativity
  • design based on pedagogy
  • bringing the real world into the classroom, and the classroom into the real world
  • empowering teachers to learn creative classroom management techniques

Here is a selection of some of the comments:

With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.

@andycinek: The ideal 21st classroom design allows for options and avenues. Not one way streets.

@k_shelton: How about a blank slate so students and teachers can collaborate on an appropriate set up for mutual benefit

@web20classroom: It seems to me that we are stuck with the notion that learning has to take place in a “classroom” in a “school.”

@ShellTerrell: Why not ask students what they think is the ideal classroom for their learning period?

@EricTownsley: I agree the ability to learn is everywhere, but f2f still needs to happen at times to formally assess student learning

@usamimi74: so to recap comfort (space, desks)->happy-> motivation + easy access (broadband, community, xtra) + collab = valuable learning

@ToddAHoffman: I would like to hear concrete ideas about how to structure outside learning

@allofek12: Classrooms should become more of a thinktank – allowing more time for reflection and less busy work

@discomfortzone: The problem is teacher training focuses too much on having control! RT @tucksoon: We need teachrs who dare 2 lose control

@nwhyluckysgirl: We learn most from our mistakes. RT @cybraryman1 Sometimes it is the parents that we have to educate on allowing students to fail.

@towittertoo: the more freedom you give the more control you have bc you gain trust

@MikeGwaltney: 21st c Learning is about taking the classroom out to the real world AND bringing the real world into the classroom.

@marynabadenhors: @ShellTerrell collaborative teaching is fantastic, just fitting planning time into the timetable is tricky for large schools

@readywriting: @readtoday #edchat What are the distractions in today’s classrooms?

@skipvia: @discomfortzone Most schools are non-21st century, but good pedagogy happens in some of them. I hope.

@jonathanmoss: the 21C classroom is event driven, temporary, where the learner is, ephemeral, transient, flexible, disperse

@Mamacita: Sam Levinson says that creating DESIRE for learning, even w/o “proper” material things in hand, is the key.

@JasonFlom: Are there teacher/admin prep programs that partner with designers/architects?

@PodPirate: Engagement and Academic Challenge are the best classroom management tools. If they are not engaged or challenged they will misbehave

@WildPedagogy: Can 21st classrooms occur without a changing public preception and an increased economic priority for education?

I would ask that the following question is added to the poll next week:

How do you differentiate learning for all students you teach?

To follow the complete discussion see here

For the stats on #edchat participation see here

As ever, there were some great links shared:

ShellTerrell: RT @ddeubel: The ideal classroom design? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3nHvkJSNFg

Eduflack: RT @isteconnects New Post: Outfitting 21st Century Classrooms w/ 21st Century Teachers http://bit.ly/axDA90

MissCheska: I like idea of @TeachPaperless classroom studio – http://bit.ly/bGqPV1. Individual seating areas, similar to today’s cafes.

chrisludwig: @tkraz asked for an illustration of a 21st cent. classroom. This was my attempt this semester http://bit.ly/cKhRAF

Tina_Barr: @ShellTerrell Wifi- on school bus found a link http://bit.ly/bGOiUW

mctownsley: RT @EricTownsley: New at Assessment for Instruction: Thoughts on Summative Assessments http://goo.gl/AzW7 Please comment!!

Wkingbg: Check out the Stranford D. School – classrooms designed for 21st century learning http://bit.ly/crLxIB

jwrezz: http://nyti.ms/bY8wIa

discomfortzone: Is a learning atelier like this a 21st cent classroom space? #edchat http://twitpic.com/1qyu2a

SchoolTown: NYT article on bus with WiFi http://nyti.ms/b3pM5N

olafelch: @rliberni The Laborschule has some incredible classroom layouts. http://bit.ly/bJr1Ks

web20education: RT @timoreilly What Bit.ly Knows About The Realtime Web http://tcrn.ch/9NAEZW @hmason at #w2e Video: http://bit.ly/aA5B1h

DocLG: I saw this great video today that some math educators might be interested in!http://bit.ly/aSjjZb

tylerwall: RT @Casillia: Learning games + simulations in generational context http://tinyurl.com/2beqc7w

AntLak: RT @isteconnects: Augmented reality learning gets kids moving while using tech. It’s coming… http://bit.ly/9uVHCF

dughall: A few examples of gaming in the classroom: http://bit.ly/6q353L Loads going on in UK around games-based learning

dughall: RT @Mark__C: @dughall A few examples here too: http://bit.ly/744JCm

analomba: Language Magazine – “Reading in Any Language” http://bit.ly/den3Rq

cybraryman1: Teachers have always collaborated (telephone, snail mail, fax, email) now we have much better tools (http://bit.ly/9vr0uA)

PTPIPaige: Have to run! Great chatter today! #edchat (Check out our classroom pen pal program to spice up curriculum – http://bit.ly/16UQFL)

marynabadenhors: Augmented reality: Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKw_Mp5YkaE

WildPedagogy: I think a big part of this transformation is how we view assessment. Standards based grading might help http://bit.ly/aQdVv0

ShellTerrell: I sang of learning far beyond the walls of bricked-in class, & space, & time, & age… via @cburell #edchat http://bit.ly/SLkxO

guernseylibrary: @tomwhitby #edchat http://www.librarymedia.net/ what about this? No need for portable walls with sound pods this is wow i want it!

ShellTerrell: Step Outside of the Classroom (ideas for teaching beyond the walls) http://bit.ly/5ItRdb

danny_torres: School turnaround models draw concern http://ow.ly/1Plni

Mamacita: Outside of the box is always better. Inside the box, there’s no room to grow. Children are not bonsai. http://bit.ly/a6N04W

evmaiden: RT @alexgfrancisco 5 TED Talks about Education and Learning http://goo.gl/f0BF

rkiker: http://bit.ly/16GgZ4 My updated top 50 offering to educators for the most helpful collaborators on#tt #teachertuesday

lizditz: Psychologist @DTWillingham on multitasking and why it may not be beneficial for learning http://bit.ly/amGvcu

edukloud: best tools for teachers http://tinyurl.com/2bkxf6z

Adrienne Michetti is currently a full-time Masters student in NYU’s Educational Communication and Technology program. Prior to that she taught at United Nations International School in Hanoi, Vietnam, an IB World School running all 3 Programs. Her experience has been mainly in MYP English A but she has experience teaching many different disciplines and ages from K-12 in four different countries. She was also an MYP Workshop Leader for the Asia-Pacific Region and has been in international education since 2001 — always MYP. She is passionate about learning, technology, music, writing, creativity, and her Mac. Adrienne blogs at connect. create. question., UTechTips, and TripleALearning.

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat.

What do you think about learning spaces for the 21st Century? Leave a comment!



  1. For class rooms smaller than 660 SF, what is the square feet per student to find potential capacity?

    Comment by AnnWohlin — May 26, 2011 @ 3:09 pm | Reply

  2. For classrooms smaller than 660 SF, what is the square feet per student to find potential capacity?

    Comment by AnnWohlin — May 26, 2011 @ 3:21 pm | Reply

    • Thank you Ann for your question. This post is the summary of a teacher discusion on twitter under the hashtag #edchat. We meet weekly and discuss various topics related to education. The links are provided by teachers on the chat who have knowledge in the area and it would be one of them who could answer your question (you could search the people who left those links here. Alternatively if you are on twitter you could pose your question there under the hashtag #edchat.

      I hope this helps.

      Comment by rliberni — May 26, 2011 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

  3. This is the first time I’ve been to your website. Thanks for posting more details.

    Comment by sunshinedesign.com.au — January 7, 2013 @ 4:34 pm | Reply

    • Great, I hope they will help you to improve your language learning skills.

      Comment by rliberni — January 21, 2013 @ 5:42 pm | Reply

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