The pendulum of ideas about what classrooms should look like and how to structure learning environments has been swinging back and forth for years. The only thing constant, it appears, in school and classroom design, is change itself. However, today change is occurring in the most dramatic ways in the history of education.
Students are faced with the most intensely stimulating world ever. We have 2nd graders keying 60 words per second, 5th graders publishing creative works on line, every textbook a child will ever use fits on a tablet sized portable computer. Technology will make many traditional aspects of education obsolete very quickly.
The Speed of Change in Traditional Education
Those of us in modular construction have accelerated the process of building a school, but I’m not certain we can grasp the speed of the changes occurring inside the classroom. We can’t fall behind when it comes to understanding the changes occurring in pedagogy overall. I suspect this, only because of the relative newness of our industry in relation to the history of public education.
A Changing Perception of Modular Buildings
The perception of inferior “modular” trailers is slowly fading and now we have a new challenge – keeping up with the pace of change. In principle, modular buildings provide incredible flexibility and seem to have natural aptitude for advancements in learning spaces. In temporary classrooms and ready to use longer term swing spaces, we can design to be more open and flexible, e.g. modular walls, openings to outdoor learning spaces, carefully placed teaching walls, movable storage areas etc. For permanent buildings we collaborate with designers to show them the process of permanent modular construction and we apply the process to meet any permanent design.