The Coworking Classroom for the 21st Century


I don’t teach students in a classroom, I facilitate the learning of students in a coworking space.  Maybe don’t tell my principle, but my main goal as an educator is not to drill the content into the kids’ heads. My focus is to help prepare them for the 21stcentury and life beyond the classroom. I put just as much emphasis on the “soft” skills as I do the “hard” skills.

Side Note: At the International Conference on Thinking this year I felt so validated because I heard over and over that in order for students to be ready for the jobs that await them, the soft skills need to become the hard skills.

At the beginning of the year – again, don’t tell my boss – I do not teach any content for at least the first week. We learn about what a coworking space is, how we are all entrepreneurs of learning, and how the classroom is going to operate.

We cover the five principles of coworking spaces and the students determine what that means in the classroom:

  • Community
  • Openness
  • Collaboration
  • Accessibility
  • Sustainability

And FYI, the 4 Cs of 21stCentury learning are

  • Critical Thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Creativity

The students also sign a code of conduct of our learning community where they promise to value:

  • collaboration over competition
  • community over agendas
  • participation over observation
  • doing over saying
  • friendship over formality
  • boldness over assurance
  • learning over expertise
  • people over personalities
  • “value ecosystem” over “value chain”

This may come as a surprise to all the teachers out there, but I am actually super excited to start the school 208-2019 school year. Even though my classroom didn’t operate like a traditional classroom, it looked like one when you walked in. However, my school let me design my own learning space and of course, I tried to make it feel as much like a coworking space as possible. It is going to be ready in August – stay tuned for before and after pics!

How do you help prepare your students for the 21stCentury? What are your goals in the classroom?

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