Future Classroom Toolkit - How to use

The Future Classroom Toolkit enables school leaders, education policy-makers, teachers and ICT suppliers to create and implement Future Classroom Scenarios which provide a clear vision of innovative teaching and learning practices. It can be used to introduce or scale up innovative use of ICT in a school or across a number of schools within an education system. The rationale for this process is to bring about incremental but sustainable change in the education system.

The toolkit encourages whole school use of ICT by:

  • Creating an educational vision that is ambitious but achievable
  • Involving all key stakeholders involved in designing a schools' ICT strategy
  • Focusing on advanced pedagogical practices and change management
  • Designing engaging Learning Activities that bring innovation through the use of ICT to support learner acquisition of 21st Century skills
  • Evaluating the use of Learning Activities

Who is the toolkit aimed at?

The toolkit can be used by those engaged in bringing about sustainable change in teaching and learning, particularly:

  • School leaders and teachers – for example, when a school is considering investment in technology, or changing the curriculum or school layout;
  • Advisers at regional or national level – as a change management tool, particularly when deploying technology;
  • Technology providers, consultants and other stakeholders – to provide support and guidance to schools on how to develop their ICT strategy and to guide their own product and service development.

How should the toolkit be used?

The kit, comprising six toolsets, each with a range of resources, can be adapted to local needs and contexts. The resources within them can be used independently or as part of a complete process for developing Future Classroom Scenarios. The Toolkit can be used to bring about change in a single classroom, whole school or wider education system.

Innovation in the classroom – The Future Classroom Scenarios described in this toolkit and the processes for creating and using them have been evaluated in over 2,500 classrooms across Europe. They enable schools, or a team within a school, to reflect on their current practice and to design and implement innovative teaching and learning approaches.

System-wide change at regional, national or international level – The toolkit was developed in an international project involving education policy-makers from over 14 countries. The tools therefore address a common set of trends and challenges that decision-makers face as they deploy and implement a wide range of technologies and solutions throughout education systems.

ICT suppliers – In addition, the toolkit allows ICT suppliers to better understand the needs of schools and educators. It was developed, with support from the European Commission, in a project where Ministries of Education and ICT vendors worked together in partnership. The toolkit is particularly useful in enabling suppliers to collaborate with policy-makers and teachers to develop a shared vision for the effective deployment and use of technology in learning.

Using the tools individually or as a complete process

The toolkit was originally designed as a complete process to create Future Classroom Scenarios (FCS) and use them as inspiration for designing innovative Learning Activities. However each toolset has value on its own, as indicated below.

Toolset As part of the FCS process (at school or system level) As individual tools
1 – Identifying Stakeholders and Trends Creating an FCS starts by involving a variety of informed individuals and working with them to identify trends, the building blocks of an FCS. They define what changes are likely to affect schools in the future. To identify who should be involved in any change management process. Education policy-making processes should be based upon an informed identification of trends.
2 – Future Classroom maturity modelling To create a useful FCS, it is important to assess the maturity of a school in how it uses ICT for teaching and learning. Self-review is used in many schools and countries to benchmark their current progress in adopting ICT effectively.
3 – Creating a Future Classroom Scenario A face to face workshop activity for creating an FCS, as a vision for change. Simply adapting and adopting an existing scenario from the FCS bank.
4 – Designing innovative Learning Activities The FCS is used as the inspiration for designing innovative Learning Activities, with guidance and support on the use of learning technologies. An existing FCS can be used to create a number of Learning Activities
5 – Evaluating innovation in the classroom Once created, Learning Activities should be used to bring about real change in the classroom. They should be evaluated to check they bring about the desired innovation. Existing Learning Activities can be used in the classroom and evaluated. 

The Future Classroom Methodology

The Future Classroom Toolkit provides a range of guidance materials, ICT tools and other resources to guide users through a complete change management process. This methodology ensures that the deployment of ICT in schools is informed by a reliable vision of the future classroom and that users make effective use of ICT to support advanced pedagogical approaches.

The process is based on work carried out in the iTEC project. With 26 project partners, including 17 Ministries of Education, and funding from the European Commission, iTEC investigated and evaluated how technology can be used effectively in schools and how scenarios for the future classroom can move beyond small-scale pilots to engage large numbers of schools. Between 2010 and 2014, iTEC Future Classroom Scenarios and Learning Activities were piloted and evaluated in over 2,500 classrooms in 19 countries across Europe.

The process can be understood in several stages.

Stage 1 – Development of Inspirational Future Classroom Scenarios

A Future Classroom Scenario (FCS) is a narrative description of learning and teaching that provides a vision for innovation and advanced pedagogical practice, making effective use of ICT. The aim is to inspire teachers to change their own practices (through adaptation of the ideas presented) rather than providing a lesson script.

A Future Classroom Scenario is created by bringing together a number of diverse stakeholders who have a different perspective on the challenges and opportunities that need to be considered when planning education for the future. These stakeholders can include teachers, school leaders, educational experts, employers, parents and students etc. Their role is to identify important emerging trends which are likely to have an impact on learning and teaching in the future. They also assess the level of maturity in the use of ICT that a school is at, to identify the desired level of maturity the school would like to reach.

These trends and the level of maturity are used to guide the process of writing the scenario which provides a high level description of learning activities and resource functionalities. The scenario describes the roles of learners, teachers and other participants, and focuses on advanced approaches to learning and teaching that support learners in the adoption of 21st century Skills. A Future Classroom Scenario is not limited to the ‘classroom' and can take place in any context, environment or place where learning is possible.

Stage 2 – Designing Innovative Learning Activities

Future Classroom Scenarios are intentionally inspirational, meaning that they provide a vision of what could potentially be delivered to support innovation in learning and teaching. For this reason, they lack certain detail and may provide a number of challenges to teachers trying to implement them.

The second stage in the Future Classroom Methodology is to use Future Classroom Scenarios as inspiration for designing Learning Activities that can be practically implemented by teachers. This involves a collaborative design process, where groups of teachers, often from different subject areas and backgrounds, work together in a design workshop.

A Learning Activity is a concrete description of a unit of a teaching and learning experience which is not subject specific; so, it could be used by any teacher. The collaborative Learning Activity design process is intended to enable teachers to turn visionary educational scenarios into actual classroom practices. The scenarios, therefore, provide a stimulus for the design of innovative Learning Activities.

Stage 3 – Piloting and evaluating Learning Activities

In the final stage, teachers use the Learning Activities as input for lesson planning. A collection of Learning Activities can be used in a range of sequences to deliver any aspect of the curriculum. Teachers need to decide how they will use the activities and when, and what learning outcomes they will achieve. The objective is for the teacher to try new and more advanced approaches to teaching, and supporting learning. As a part of this process, guidance is given in the use of resources and technologies. For example, a number of tools have been developed to support teachers in finding and making use of these resources and tools, reducing the barriers to innovation.

As part of this process of trying new approaches, the delivery of the Learning Activity is evaluated, and teachers are encouraged to share their experiences within a community of practice. This is also intended to be an iterative process, with the experiences of trying new approaches and technologies feeding into the further development of increasingly innovative Future Classroom Scenarios and Learning Activities.

User stories

The head master of the Odda secondary school in Norway, Sven Olaf Brekke, Explains how he has used the Future Classroom process, developed within the iTEC project, to help his teachers innovate.

Three teachers from three different countries - Spain, France, and Portugal - share their stories on how the Future Classroom process and tools (within the iTEC project) have helped them in introducing the principle of innovation to their teaching practice.