I've been trying to envision what my classroom might look like in 10 years. It occurred to me today that I have absolutely no idea what might be on the horizon for me. But there are some things that I'd like to happen.
First, I think there's a temptation to project physical attributes into the classroom of the future. My ideal classroom has looked pretty much the same in my mind for many years. I would rather have tables and chairs instead of desks and incandescent lights to replace the fluorescent ones. Maybe a wall color that isn't institutional beige and a floor that doesn't look like in belongs in a hospital. Books, games, puzzles, video game consoles, computers, outlets for charging hand-held devices, and some kind of interactive projection technology. Basically, I want a Muggle version of the Gryffindor common room (or, a hipster coffee shop).
The physicality of the space is a pipe-dream; it's never going to happen and I know that. The changes to the environment are simply the window dressing for the kind of education with which I'd like to be involved. I want students to collaborate more. They should work on projects that are compelling and authentic. Not necessarily practical or real-world, but interesting.* Students can consult outside sources, in real time or on video, to work on their questions. They can make a record of what they've accomplished, either digitally or manually, so that they know where they've come from and where they might go next. The engage with different kinds of tools to help them make progress in their task. Maybe the tool is a dynamic geometry suite or maybe it is hand-held graphing technology or maybe it is pencil and paper. The tool chosen assists in the task completion. They present their work to their peers, have it constructively and good-naturedly critiqued and then they revise it to make it better.
In the best kind of environment my students will near the completion of one task and realize that they have developed more questions to pursue. Wouldn't that be amazing?
*An awful lot of mathematics was done for purposes of curiosity and only later took on some usefulness. The computer was a thought experiment before someone built one and realized its utility.