From Makerspaces to Student-Led Learning, Future-Ready Schools Are Taking Shape

Press Release
May 8, 2018
Rockville, Md. – May 8, 2018 – Schools of the future are beginning to appear in the U.S., propelled by a number of factors, from advances in technology to policy, including the Every Student Succeeds Act, which incorporates many of the tenets of future-ready learning.

Educators at the local, state and national level have joined corporations and nonprofit groups touting the effectiveness of 21st century learning approaches, including maker curricula and project-based learning.

“Schools of the future are rooted in the P21 Framework for 21st Century Learning and put an emphasis on hands-on learning, collaboration, a wealth of technology to foster inquiry, and an open physical space that supports these aims,” said Kathy Mickey, senior analyst at Simba Education, which has published a new report on the advances in creating new learning environments for the 21st century.

In the Schools of the Future report, Simba provides practical lessons on implementation of the aspects of future-ready schools through 10 separate case studies of districts or schools that are implementing facets of the school of the future. Simba also incorporated research from three of the leading architectural firms working on future-school projects: Fielding Nair International, McKissack & McKissack, and Stantec.

In 2018, the progress toward future-ready schools is somewhat of a checkerboard of different programs that vary according to district leadership, current educational performance, budgets and other factors. “For instance, Lexington County District One in South Carolina has a formal school of the future initiative and strategically is bringing the entire district forward,” Mickey said. “Elsewhere, Palo Alto High School in California took six years to develop its future-ready media center, which opened in 2014.”

Schools of the Future, examines the characteristics of future-ready schools, gleaned through the experiences of those who have implemented key components, and provides a look at where the U.S. is today in transforming the current education system into the schools of the future. The report is available in two parts:

  • Schools of the Future, Part 1: Curriculum and Content focuses on the changing curriculum needs of future-ready schools—from personalized learning and multi-age learning to the changing roles of teachers and librarians and the changing demand for instructional materials, including OER, assessments, robotics and other technologies.

  • Schools of the Future, Part 2: The Physical Space focuses on the new physical spaces for learning—the changing school environment, both for new construction and the redesign of existing space—that are being implemented to facilitate and support the future-ready learning experience.

For more information on the report Schools of the Future, Part 2, visit: or call 888-29-SIMBA.

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