As undergraduate STEM curriculum evolves, academic institutions need to create new types of learning environments.

New technology and changing teaching methods are influencing how to instruct learners who have grown up with smartphones and tablets. Architects and designers must work as partners to create dynamic teaching spaces for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum. This white paper by HOK, a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm, identifies several trends that drive the design and function of today’s science classrooms, including integrated technology, recognition of small-group work and the need to equip students for the competitive workforce.

The paper notes that STEM education is at a crossroads:

As boundaries between the life sciences and physical sciences continue to blur, the need for flexible teaching lab spaces that can accommodate multidisciplinary experiments and demonstrations increases. […] It’s also important to designate places for academic partnership with industry to occur. These externally focused spaces enable students to participate in research internships and externships as they gain valuable experience and explore potential career opportunities.

HOK concludes that creating spaces that accommodate hands-on research, collaboration and sophisticated curriculum will prepare the next generation of top scientists and engineers.

Take a closer look at the trends driving STEM classroom design.