GEI recently returned from the 2015 EDspaces international tradeshow and conference held in New Orleans to observe the trends in products that impact learning.
Put on by the Education Association Market, EDspaces brings together professionals who plan, design, and build innovative educational facilities. What we found was a vibrant gathering place, teaming with architects, planners, dealers, and manufacturers that surprised and inspired us. Here’s what we took away from this year’s show.
1. Passion for education is everywhere. And contagious.
Manufacturers care deeply about the products they create for students. We loved the way they lit up when talking about the functionality of a teacher desk that changed into a student conference space or another that transformed effortless into a stand up desk. And the care they had toward finding solutions for students with ADHD, such as a desk that allowed for deliberate movement. Seeing how every design choice is motivated by a passion for helping students learn was inspiring and uplifting.
2. Classrooms are on the move.
Literally. This is not the immortalized, Library of Congress photo archive classroom. We saw, firsthand, how manufacturers and designers are pushing for mobility and movement – furniture that is adaptable, agile, and recoverable (For more on this trend, see the GEI Interview with David A. Stubbs II, environment planner and designer: Outdated and Overstuffed). Furniture can transform throughout the day based on the curriculum.
3. The future is exciting
Imagine a whole school, built from the ground up with one central idealogy: To maximize learning, all spaces must be interchangeable and multifunctional. As we walked the floor, we saw manufactures addressing not only the needs of a particular space within the classroom but solutions that address the needs of an entire school. We saw classrooms where teacher desks can become a part of the collaborative workspace, technology that is integrated seamlessly, storage options that were both multifunctional and mobile, and solutions for student gathering spaces that provide options for configuration and functionality.
It was truly exhilarating to be in a space where everyone’s top priority is enhancing student learning through amazing and innovative solutions for the learning environment. Until we see what’s in store next year when EDspaces hits Cincinnati, Ohio (our back yard) in 2016, we’re certain the innovation won’t stop.