Education scholars have long been experimenting with tactics to facilitate learning in the classroom. Are kids more likely to take in knowledge when at desks arranged in tidy rows? When divided into smaller groups? Perhaps when sitting in a circle on the floor? Now, a freethinking school in Stockholm, Sweden wants to take the classroom out of the picture altogether.
Telefonplan, one of 30 schools from the Swedish education company Vittra, has done away with the concept of the classroom completely. Designed by architects at Rosan Bosch, the school consists of loosely designed “spaces” in which students can come and go.
The principles of the Vittra School revolve around the breakdown of physical and metaphorical class divisions as a fundamental step to promoting intellectual curiosity, self-confidence, and communally responsible behavior. Therefore, in Vittra’s custom-built Stockholm location, spaces are only loosely defined by permeable borders and large, abstract landmarks.
The school takes advantage of the flexibility that is allowed when learning takes place through digital media. Since the school considers one of its biggest learning tools to be the laptop, students aren’t bound to desks or even chairs. If working in a group, students can gather around a large table to use a computer. If working by themselves, they can use their laptops virtually anywhere.
Letting seven year olds armed with laptops loose in a room that closely resembles a playhouse seems a little risky—but if the design proves successful, more of us might want to consider sending our little ones to class outside the classroom.
Images: Kim Wendt/Rosan Bosch