The work of the Interactive Classroom Working Group (ICWG) of European Schoolnet (EUN) is closely linked to the activities of the Future Classroom Lab (FCL) in Brussels, which was created in 2012 by EUN, its 34 supporting education ministries, and several industry partners, to help visualise how conventional classrooms and other learning spaces can be reorganised to support changing styles of teaching and learning. The FCL, which is currently supported by over 30 industry partners, was renovated in 2019 and the lab surface area was extended to cover approximately 250m². The new area now also includes a larger focus on the maker movement and the key ideas of makerspaces, and includes a selection of relevant equipment such as 3D printers, robotics, 3D scanners and trolleys with making components.
EUN, in recent years, has developed three publications to support schools interested in adapting their learning spaces:
- Makerspaces in schools. Practical guidelines for school leaders and teachers (2020)
- Building learning labs and innovative learning spaces. Practical guidelines for school leaders and teachers (2019)
- Guidelines on Exploring and Adapting Learning Spaces in Schools (2017)
Guidelines on Developing Makerspaces in Schools (2020)
Makerspaces, which are designed for hands-on, collaborative, creative work, are a fairly recent addition to some schools in Europe and worldwide. Teachers in 15 schools in nine countries, interviewed for this publication, described approaches to learning enabled by, or necessary in, makerspaces such as constructivist, inquiry learning, collaborative and project based; with teachers coaching and supporting rather than teaching in a traditional way.
As there is no one-size-fits all makerspace, those in schools often vary according to factors such as the level, type and size of school; the nature of the physical space available; the funding available; the interests, aims and skills of school leaders and teachers; the support available from, and the involvement of industry partners, local community decision makers, or local education authorities. In this publication, case study schools have identified four possible approaches to ensuring the long-term financial sustainability of their makerspaces.
The publication is divided into two parts:
Part One describes makerspaces and similar active learning environments, considers the benefits and challenges of makerspaces in schools and provides examples of how they can be used by students and teachers.
Part Two provides advice for schools related to planning, setting up and managing makerspaces plus examples of toolkits used for different types of makerspace activities.
The guidelines have been based on research and experiences observed and analysed in projects conducted by the Italian Government's National Institute for Documentation, Innovation and Educational Research (INDIRE) in recent years. They were further informed by desk research and the experiences of schools in nine countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Switzerland and Turkey) that have created their own makerspaces as documented in the case studies below, which are based on interviews with the schools' principals and teachers.
Download here the case studies:
- Agrupamento de Escolas de Freixo (Freixo Schools Cluster)
- Agrupamento de Escolas Fernando Casimiro Pereira da Silva Secondary School
FCL Guidelines for learning labs - Practical guidance to school leaders and teachers that wish to create their own learning labs or to adapt their learning spaces in other innovative ways. Available in EN.
Guidelines on Exploring and Adapting Learning Spaces in Schools - Practical advice and support to schools on how to develop and adapt learning spaces to facilitate the innovative use of ICT and collaborative approaches to teaching and learning.
BYOD Bring Your Own Device - Two guides have been published to provide guidance for school leaders and IT administrators.
ICWG pedagogical videos - Videos to showcase innovative pedagogical practice in classrooms across Europe.