New Learning Environments for 21st Century Learners

Updated: April 30, 2018

1. Designing New Learning Environments to Support 21st Century Skills (PDF, downloadable), chapter by Bob Pearlman

New Learning Environments Videos

June 24, 2016: Bob Pearlman Keynote presentation and workshop at the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) Pacific Northwest Region Conference, Anchorage, Alaska.
June 23, 2016: Steve Collis Keynote presentation at the A4LE NW Conference, Anchorage, AK. Steve is Co-Director of the Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning (SCIL) at Northern Beaches Christian School, Sydney, Australia.

July 9, 2019: Today's assignment for classroom design: flexibility, by Kim Cook, July 9, 2019, AP News. “Innovators no longer speak of ‘classrooms,’” says Bob Pearlman, a Tucson, Arizona-based education consultant. “Students now work in learning studios, plazas and home bases..."
April 30, 2018: How to design a school of the future - 5 insights from Greenville County Schools on designing an award-winning building, By Jeff McCoy, eSchool News, April 27, 2018
August 26, 2016: 21st-Century Learning: Hillel Day School completes update of its facilities, Detroit Jewish News. Includes Innovation Hub/Makerspace and 21C learning communities and spaces. See more about the transformed learning environments at Hillel Day School.
November 3, 2015: Greenville County (SC) Schools' Dr. Phinnize J. Fisher Middle School, a PBL STEAM middle school, is named the CEFPI 2015 James D. MacConnell Award Winner
November 3, 2015: New Learning Environments Videos
January 25, 2015: Impact of 21st Century Learning on Architecture, Design, Pedagogies and Technology Panel Discussion at Newmark School, Scotch Plains, NJ, November 12, 2014
December 1, 2014: Designing Classrooms & Schools for 21st Century Learners, Blog by Bob Pearlman, Partnership for 21st Century Skills Blogazine
November 11, 2014: 8 Tips and Tricks to Redesign Your Classroom, By David Bill, President, NoTosh Inc., Edutopia, August 6, 2013
September, 2014: New book from Prakash Nair, Blueprint for Tomorrow: Redesigning Schools for Student-Centered Learning
August, 2014: Educational Models Proposed for the Lindfield Learning Village (PDF), By Stephen Heppell, NSW Education & Communities, and BVN Donovan-Hill

2. Presentations on New Learning Environments

3. Resources

4. Blogs on school design

5. Books

The Language of School Design: Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools,
by Prakash Nair, Randall Fielding and Dr. Jeffery Lackney

Prakash Nair, Blueprint for Tomorrow: Redesigning Schools for Student-Centered Learning, Harvard Education Press, 2014
In Blueprint for Tomorrow, Prakash Nair of Fielding Nair International*—one of the world’s leading school designers—explores the hidden messages that our school facilities and classrooms convey and advocates for the “alignment” of the design of places in which we teach and learn with twenty-first-century learning goals. Blueprint for Tomorrow provides simple, affordable, and versatile ideas for adapting or redesigning school spaces to support student-centered learning.

Order at Harvard Education Press or on Amazon.

David Thornburg, From the Campfire to the Holodeck: Creating Engaging and Powerful 21st Century Learning Environments, Jossey-Bass, October 2013

Order at Amazon or Wiley.

Architecture for Achievement: Building Patterns for Small School Learning, by Victoria Bergsagel and David Stephen
The Third Teacher: 79 Ways You Can Use Design to Transform Teaching & Learning
by OWP/P Cannon Design, VS Furniture, Bruce Mau Design

6. Videos of schools profiled in book chapter

7. Extended Learning Spaces

Cafeteria as Extended Learning Space at New Tech @ Coppell (Coppell, TX) -- Cafeteria is like a drop-in cafe, serving as another extended learning space and workspace for Learner teams, and especially playing a role when business people visit the school and meet with students or do brown-bag lunches with them.

8. Contact Info for schools profiled in Designing New Learning Environments for 21st Century Skills article

Columbus Signature Academy, 2205 25th Street, Columbus, Indiana 47201
Mike Reed, Principal, Columbus Signature Academy, 812-376-4595,
John E. Rigsbee, CSO Architects, 317-706-2507,

New Tech High @ Coppell, 113 Samuel Blvd. Coppell, TX 75019
Tabitha Branum. Director, 214-496-5910,
SHW Group

The Met, 325 Public Street, Providence, RI 02905
Elliot Washor, Co-director, Big Picture Learning, 401-374-4664,

High Tech High, 2861 Womble Road, San Diego, CA 92106-6025
Larry Rosenstock, Chief Executive Officer, 619-243-5000,
David Stephen, M. Ed. / Architect, New Vista Design, 617-477-4660,

New Line Learning Academy, Boughton Lane, Maidstone, Kent, ME15 9QL, UK
Chris Gerry, Executive Principal, 01622 743286,
Philip Gillard, Gensler, +44 (0)20 7073 9935,

9. Other Innovative 21st Century Schools and Learning Environments

Wooranna Park Primary School, Melbourne, Australia. See Wooranna's Stimulating Learning Platforms.

Singapore American School (SAS)

Personalized Learning Tour and new Flexible Learning Spaces K-12 at Singapore American School (SAS): This 30-minute video takes the viewer on a tour of the new Flexible Learning Spaces and learning environments at this innovative, 21st century independent school. Also see Why Flexible Learning Environments? by Lauren Mehrbach and Chris Beingessner, SAS Perspectives Blog, June 5, 2018; Pathfinder Spaces: An Action Research Project at Singapore American School, by Tom Vander Ark, Forbes magazine,October 26, 2018; 20 Signs of Progress at Singapore American School,, November 8, 2018; Personalized Learning at Singapore American School (article and video), Sassy Mama, September 4, 2018; Take an Inside Look at Singapore American School's Cool Flexible Learning Spaces (article and video), by Jana Blanco, HoneyKidsAsia, November 8, 2018. Thanks to Chris Hazleton of Fielding Nair International (FNI) for alerting me to these developments. Disclosure: FNI is the architecture firm for SAS developing the new Flexible Learning Spaces and I am a consultant for FNI.

Hillel Day School, Farmington Hills, MI. K-8 School with totally transformed laerning environments and learning communities.

Lindfield School of the Future (New South Wales, Australia) - Great Summer 2014 public consultation led by Stephen Heppell for new K-12 school.

10. Articles by Bob Pearlman on 21st Century Schools and 21st Century Learning:

11. New Learning Environments Videos


Flexible Classrooms: Providing the Learning Environment That Kids Need


Wooranna Park The Third Teacher


Norma Rose Point School Introduction


 MNTHS: "How We Work @ Manor New Tech High"


Columbus Signature Academy - New Tech Campus


NewTech High @ Coppell


21st Century Skills Culture at High Tech High


Welcome to New Line Learning Academy

Featured 21st Century Learning Videos -- November 2015:

Greenville County (SC) Schools' Dr. Phinnize J. Fisher Middle School, a PBL STEAM middle school, is named the CEFPI 2015 James D. MacConnell Award Winner. See submittal. CEPFI is now known as the Association for Learning Environments. Also see the New Learning Environments section of this website.

Articles about Fisher Middle School:

Disclosure: I am a Senior Education Consultant for FNI. See more New Learning Environments Videos above.