Designing & Managing the 21st Century Classroom

Instructor: Derek Hughes
Modern research and the advent of educational technology has changed how teachers need to design and manage their classrooms. This lesson will help you come up with a plan for your own 21st century classroom.

The 21st Century Classroom

Gone are the days when education means students sitting in rows listening to the teacher talk all day. No longer is it acceptable for a teacher to be the center of the classroom, with students passively learning. The 21st century classroom is one in which students are the leaders and center of learning with the teacher acting as facilitator.

Because of this shift in education, designing and managing a modern classroom must change also. How you situate furniture and materials and manage student behavior must reflect new theories in education. This lesson will provide you with several strategies to use in your own classroom.

Classroom Design

Imagine trying to place modern students in rows and expecting them to listen and work all day. It probably looks like chaos, and it would be in practice, also. Education research shows that students learn better through group collaboration and activities that are tailored to their learning styles. Your classroom design and environment should reflect those values.

For example, the simple task of organizing desks is incredibly important. If you want to encourage group collaboration and cooperation, your desk arrangement should reflect that. Placing desks in groups shows students that they are encouraged to work together to solve problems. This placement also allows for easy transitions from one group activity to another since desks are already organized that way.

Additionally, students benefit from moving (physically) from one activity to another. Therefore, your classroom design should allow for easy, safe movement from one area to another. If things are pressed too closely together, you'll get traffic jams of students, resulting in utter chaos (which we're always trying to avoid).

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