It is quite fair to say that education affects every aspect of our life, as it shapes the way we percept the world around us. Moreover, education is what brings up specialists, who are responsible for all the important decisions, which define the life of a country and the world in general. On the other hand, the number of things, which can shape the way the education is provided, is limited, yet architecture and technology are among those things.
Obviously, technology has changed the educational process and will change it even more in the nearest future. Although most of the changes are taken for granted, they have made the process of acquiring new knowledge and skills much easier and, at times, faster. The first thing which comes to mind when you think about the technological development in the context of education is the internet and all the lovely advantages which it has provided. The internet has granted an opportunity for everyone to search and share information, hence saving any scholar tens and hundreds of hours, which one would otherwise have to spend in libraries.
Another essential contribution that technology development has made into educational process is making knowledge available for anyone who is interested. Many prestigious universities and colleges have uploaded the materials of their best and highly-ranked courses, thereupon providing the opportunity to learn for many people who can’t afford paying the cost of daytime education.
Modern gadgets and newest software are changing the very concept of a textbook. As numerous books can be downloaded to one device, the availability of knowledge is now taken to a new level: people can literally spend every spare minute to learn, if they want to. Social media platforms have granted the opportunity for students to find people who share their passions, and hence, spread their interest in academic subjects way beyond college curricula. Moreover, many teachers try to keep in touch with their former and current students via social networks. Such behavior serves to two main things: it creates a community of educated people, who are able to provide each other assistance in the areas of common professional interest, and helps current students see their teacher more as a friend who is always ready to help.
Consequently, technology has changed the model of education: the teacher is no longer an authoritative figure who provides conventional knowledge and abstracted facts, the teacher is a mentor, whose first responsibility is to foster the class’ aspiration to learn. Naturally, with such a shift in the image of a teacher in the eyes of ones students, the classrooms should get rid of the outdated attributes of authoritative schooling. But what do massive old chalkboards, lecture hall chairs, and plain desks have to do with the quality of knowledge being provided in class?
A vast majority of people would think that the only connection between architecture and education happens when people are pursuing their careers in construction and engineering, and imagine a student working on an architecture paper. Although architecture and interior design are not commonly thought to be the determinant factors in education, their influence on the way students process and memorize information is proven to be quite significant. Same as the learner’s perception differs depending on the type of tools one is using to take notes and read, it also varies contingent on a setting.
The dominant idea in modern architecture is that it is the environment that has to adjust to the needs of the students, not vice versa. It is greatly supported by the fact that students are trying to be in charge of their educational process and manage it according to personal preferences and needs. The findings of a recent study have shown that changing some interior elements in the classroom can result in growth of educational outcome by 16 percent. Changing the way desks are located, for example, helps students become more involved in the process, enhances teamwork and compels even the shyest students to collaborate.
The interior of the classroom should always be evaluated from the learners’ point of view. The architects should consider the distribution of natural and artificial light, air circulation, sound isolation and many other important factors, which will determine whether the classroom is going to be comfortable or not. It is important to make sure that students are able to see and hear what they need from any seat in the class, as this will define the level of their interest and engagement in everything that will be going on in the class.
Generally, the classes for the younger children are designed to be friendly environments, which would feel more like home, whereas lecture halls for the scholars should be spacious and convenient.