When it comes to innovation within the field of education, the optimization of learning methods often is the subject of discussion. But what will the future educational building look like and what kind of optimized and/or new facilities, products, and services should be included? The Education Work Group of the Big Improvement Day and authentication- and payment specialist KUARIO joined forces to fill the gap. Both parties gathered decision-makers from various ROCs, Avans University of Applied Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Erasmus University, Microsoft, Esprit, and the Dutch foundation for teachers ‘Stichting Leerkracht’ for a series of top dialogues to provide answers to this question.
Prior to the dialogues, the wishes and needs of various stakeholders were identified; teachers, project leaders, operational managers, and of course students. The aim is to create an environment that will optimally facilitate the latter group to ensure that they successfully enter their career and adult life. On the 7th of July 2021, lecturers, facility managers, and decision-makers from Avans University, Albeda, Esprit, University of Amsterdam, and ROC Nijmegen, among others, came together to translate these wishes and needs into concrete concepts for the future design, products, and services of education. This dialogue was led by the business advisor, speaker, and author Wessel Berkman.
On Friday, the 9th of July 2021, the brainstorm continued during the Education Work Group of the Big Improvement Day, where Prince Constantijn van Oranje, Hans Schutte (ROC Mondriaan), Jaap Versfelt (Stichting Leerkracht) and Patrick Bannis (CAOP), Anette Kil (Gooische Schools) and a number of 'Teachers of the Year' provided their input on this subject.
The dialogues have shown that all stakeholders are aiming for the same goal, when it comes to the aspects of education, the building, and associated services and products that should be optimized. Every single part of future education should centralize the dreams and ambitions of students.
From 'clinical' to an inspiring environment
First of all, switching to an environment where the dreams of students are the main focus point, it's important to transform the building into an inspiring, creative, and triggering space where students can evolve and develop in every way possible. More glass, light, and air, more areas for all forms of creations, showing innovations, the use of techniques such as VR and gamification, integrating continuous inspirational sessions, masterclasses, TED talks, and more meeting spaces; this is all necessary. It was also pointed out that the business connection should be strengthened by integrating companies into the building. Instead of just opening textbooks, all senses need to be stimulated.
From ‘just a number’ to personal guidance
This also means the role of the teachers needs to change. For students to optimally develop, they should trade in just teaching in the classrooms, to the role of mentor and coach. What are the student’s ambitions, and in what way can this become reality? An open, safe and accessible ambiance created by the teachers is the main condition to achieve the needed continuous development curve.
From study to personal development and awareness
Besides stimulating the professional development of students, attention to their psychical and mental health is needed. The stakeholders underline the importance of more quiet- and offline rooms, sports-, game-, and relaxation facilities, providing healthy foods that match current trends, and even powernap cabins were mentioned during the discussion.
Another goal is to increase the student awareness of social issues such as sustainability, diversity, and getting to know a broad spectrum of visions. Logically, these subjects would also need to be implemented in the building, and the behavior of students, teachers, and the managing board.
From vision to implementation
Successful implementation of these ideas and concepts depends on the carrying capacity. The vision to transform the educational building into an environment that challenges students to discover and realize their ambitions and dreams in every way possible needs to be embraced by the entire Dutch education system.
During the top dialogues, the complexity, time, and budget required for all the executing of the ideas were mapped out. This showed that there are sufficient opportunities to optimize existing environments and new-build projects, even with few resources and little time. Within the coming months, KUARIO and the educational institutions involved aim to start several pilots to add concrete substance to the ideas and to test the effect extensively.