Future Classroom Tookit: Glossary

The glossary defines the key terminology used in the Future Classroom Toolkit. The place the term is introduced in the toolkit is also indicated.

  • 21st century skills (transversal skills)
  • Core Group
  • Future Classroom Maturity Model
  • Future Classroom Scenario (FCS)
  • Future Classroom Scenario Facilitator
  • Innovation
  • Learning Activity
  • Learning Story
  • School Pilots
  • Self-Review
  • Trends
  • Wider Community Stakeholders

21st Century Skills (Transversal Skills)

These are skills internationally recognised as important for young people living and working in the 21st century. They include creativity, communication, collaboration, self-reflection and self-direction. Such skills, though critically important for the 21st century economy, are not commonly assessed in many European subject-based curricula or assessment regimes. Future Classroom Scenarios should be designed to include new modes of learning and assessment, incorporating opportunities for 21st century skill development.

The skills are derived from several sources, notably: ATC21S (Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills) and EU Key competences.

The 21st century skills are covered in Toolset 3 – Creating a Future Classroom Scenario

Core Group

The creation of a Future Classroom Scenario requires the input of ideas and information from a range of people. Together these people form the Core Group. The core group should be comprised of 6 to 8 forward-thinking and well-informed individuals from different backgrounds. For example, a secondary school using the toolkit as part of its work on future curriculum development could have a Core Group composed of:

  • Curriculum experts – members of staff from different departments, including teaching and support staff;
  • Policy and strategy stakeholders – a national or regional education/ICT coordinator, a school governor, parent and/or representative of local industry;
  • Technology experts – technology suppliers, or school ICT managers.
  • All members of the Core Group should have a strong interest in supporting innovation in education.

The Core Group is introduced in Toolset 1 – Identifying Stakeholders and Trends

Future Classroom Maturity Model

The Future Classroom Maturity Model is based on the Innovation Maturity Model used within the iTEC Project. In the final year of the project it was renamed and created as an online self-assessment and benchmarking tool.

The Future Classroom Maturity Model shows a number of progressive stages of maturity in the adoption of learning technology to support advanced pedagogical practices. As educational institutions move from one stage to the next, the maturity of the institution increases. Future Classroom Scenarios are used to create a vision of learning and teaching that will move a school from lower to higher levels of maturity.

A key feature of the development process is the Future Classroom maturity-modelling tool. It draws on work undertaken in the UK by BECTA, the former government agency for education technology. This tool was developed to enable judgments to be made about the relative levels of innovation in scenarios developed within the project and to stimulate self-review. The tool has five levels or stages of innovation and five dimensions. It can be used prior to scenario creation to enable stakeholders to review current technology integration within their specific context and to inspire areas for scenarios that can be incrementally innovative. It can also be used as a means of evaluating existing scenarios.

The Future Classroom Maturity model is introduced in Toolset 2 – Future Classroom Maturity Modelling.

Future Classroom Scenario

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.

A Future Classroom Scenario:

  • Takes into account issues, trends and challenges relating to the current school or educational system.
  • Provides a high level description of Learning Activities and resource functionalities.
  • Describes the roles of learners, teachers and other participants.
  • Is not limited to the ‘classroom' and can take place in any context, environment or place where learning is possible.

The Future Classroom Scenario is discussed throughout the toolkit, and introduced as a concept in "How to Use This Toolkit"

Future Classroom Scenario Facilitator (FCS Facilitator)

The Facilitator is the person who drives the whole scenario development process. The Facilitator will start by identifying and contacting the other stakeholders, and then work with them (using other tools in the FCS Toolkit) leading up to a face-to-face workshop where a Future Classroom Scenario is written or an existing one is adapted. If the Future Classroom Scenario is being created for an individual school, then a school leader, or advanced teacher with responsibility for curriculum or school development would be the most suitable person. If Scenarios are being produced to guide or inform national or regional strategy, then an ICT coordinator or curriculum/ICT expert may be most suitable.

The Future Classroom Scenario Facilitator is introduced in Toolset 1 – Identifying Stakeholders and Trends.


An innovation is a change that brings about a positive result in learning and teaching. These positive outcomes ultimately result in improved learning achievement, and include better student engagement, greater inclusion of 21st century skills through advanced pedagogical practices, more effective use of ICT, etc. Innovation is a crucial element of the FCS Toolkit and is understood as being context specific, i.e. a learning scenario that is considered an innovation in one country or school is not necessarily considered to be so in another.

Innovation is a key theme throughout the Future Classroom Toolkit.

Learning Activities

Learning Activities are created using Future Classroom Scenarios as inspiration. They add practical detail to the Future Classroom Scenarios and provide concrete guidance for teachers in how to deliver the approaches described in the scenarios in practice. The Learning Activities provide details of the role of the teacher and learner, and include ideas for using ICT resources effectively. These Learning Activities are non-curriculum specific, but do provide opportunities for the development of 21st century skills. They describe, in more concrete terms, discrete sessions of learner interactions.

Learning Activities are introduced in Toolset 4 – Designing Innovative Learning Activities

Learning Story

In school pilots a selection of Learning Activities are used by the teacher in a defined sequence. A Learning Story can be provided to describe the sequence in which the Learning Activities could be delivered, how the Activities inter-relate and some example contextual information such as curriculum or subject area and learners involved. Learning Stories are useful in helping teachers think about how they could use Learning Activities in their own classrooms but should not be consider lesson plans for adoption, just examples for guidance. Innovation will only be achieved when the teacher is free to develop their own lesson plans based on the ideas provided in Learning Activities and Learning stories, and not if they are constrained by them. A typical Learning Story will include 3-8 Learning Activities which refer to the resources that are needed to successfully complete each activity.

Learning Stories are introduced in Toolset 5 – Evaluating Innovation in the Classroom.

School Pilots

School pilots involve testing Learning Activities in practice, in one or more schools. The time that young people spend in school is a finite resource, and should be used as judiciously as possible. Changes expected to impact on learning and teaching should be therefore be piloted first, particularly if they involve significant investment in continuing professional development and resources. Future Classroom Scenarios can be used to set out how a policy change might impact on schools.

School pilots are introduced in Toolset 5 – Evaluating Innovation in the Classroom.


To self-assess (or self-review) the maturity in the adoption of learning technology to support advanced pedagogical practices. An organisation's stakeholders must identify their organisation's current position on a maturity model. This is a key starting point for the scenario development process.

Self-review is introduced in Toolset 2 – Future Classroom Maturity Modelling


A trend is a shift which can be documented and observed currently, and can be expected to continue. Examples include economic developments, changes in society or in employment, or in attitudes and behaviour. A trend can also be related to the emergence of technologies that potentially change education institutions and the organisation of learning; for example, the impact of 1:1 computing (using tablets), or improving internet access (e.g. in every classroom and not just a computer lab). Such trends form key building blocks on which scenarios are built. The toolkit includes activities that support educators to identify and consider the impact of trends in their local context.

Trends are explained fully in Toolset 1 – Identifying Stakeholders and Trends

Wider Community Stakeholders

Wider Community Stakeholders help provide a broad and well-informed understanding of trends and the current educational context for which a Future Classroom Scenario is being developed. They might include students, other education practitioners, local employers, members of other institutions (e.g. the local university), representatives of associations (e.g. parents' associations, faith groups, etc.).

Each member of the Core Group should identify their own group of Wider Community Stakeholders. Teachers may involve a network of other teachers, and/or their students. ICT suppliers may involve colleagues form various departments within their organisation, local distributors, etc. The role of the wider community stakeholders is to provide ideas, opinions and further information to inform the Core Group. The Wider Community Stakeholders do not need to physically meet, but can share ideas and information online.

Wider Community Stakeholders are introduced in Toolset 1 – Identifying Stakeholders and Trends.