by Vincent Giandurco
Anyone that’s visited Workspace knows we have created a new educational world, a model that is the future of education. Workspacians are always ideating new ideas, so that no matter how technology or society changes, our model and vision are able to adjust. Some people say it’s magical and we say we are “Future-Proof.” And we can prove it! In this post, we’ll show how Workspace embodies five major societal trends. Our founder, Cath Fraise, created an educational model with the future of life and work in mind. As she puts it, “The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.” At Workspace, it’s definitely already here, and these trends explain why. So let’s examine them, in no particular order:
1) Trend: Co-working Workspace equivalent: Co-learning
Co-working is the hottest trend in commercial real estate, as the number of remote and gig-economy workers rises, and these workers want to be a part of a community. And what kind of community? Entrepreneur magazine says “…like-minded individuals and supporters… exchange thought and collaborate on projects…within creative spaces.” Sounds like Workspace! Coworker.com notes “There’s something magical about being around smart, ambitious people, all working under the same roof.” We agree. Our member families co-create their own curricula and activities, and then share their passions by teaching and learning together, solving real-world problems with exciting projects. Some of our families even rent a cubicle and work right here on the premises, which is in fact co-working! Workspace wasn’t designed to copy coworking, it just worked out that way, as both models put individuals at the center and lets them create their own perfect shared environment.
2) Trend: Personalization Workspace equivalent: Customized education
Education has been pretty much one-size-fits-all for hundreds of years. To see how out of synch this is, go to a Starbucks and look around. Everyone has a cell phone, with their own personalized cover and home screen and apps. Many people have tattoos and piercings, their own unique look and style. Every coffee is made exactly to order. In this kind of world, one-size-fits-all doesn’t fit at all. At Workspace, families and our staff create a customized educational pathway for each and every child so they can pursue their own goals their own way at their own pace. Education goes from one-size-fits-all to customized and personalized to fit you and your family. And that fits right into the way we live now.
3) Trend: Cable TV and Youtube Stars Workspace equivalent: Design-Your-Own Curriculum
Forty years ago, there were perhaps seven or eight television channels to choose from. The television industry loved the monopoly. Then Cable was born. Channels were added, slowly at first, then more and more. Some of the channels made it big, like HBO and ESPN. Others only found a niche market, but they can still thrive. Fast-forward to now. People with no TV acting or producing experience create channels on Youtube with zero investment and attract millions of viewers. All in all, choice has gone up, the cost of production and viewing has gone down, and creativity increased. Now, in education, for most people, there isn’t much choice, unless you have a lot of money and/or win a lottery of one kind or another. But here at Workspace, we believe in leaving it up to you to choose what you want to learn and how you want to learn it, could be it online or lecture, could be marine sciences or fencing. And it only costs about $3000/learner on average to start. Like the cable mega-channels or YouTube stars, we think our model will become a big player in the education universe, and will drive costs down and make the product more user-centric while spurring creativity.
4) Trend: The Gig/Sharing economy Workspace equivalent: Parents both work and teach their children.
We mentioned the gig economy under “Co-working” earlier, and we know it’s growing, as more companies allow remote work and workers demand more scheduling flexibility. Sharing is here to stay, too, from AirBnB to Uber. Here at Workspace, many of the parents teach the learners and some of them even rent a cubicle and work here, so the gig economy is really a part of our way of life here. The coincidence is that as more and more parents have workplace flexibility, more and more of them have free time. That means more will be free to teach and work at places like Workspace. What that means for the world is that learners will be supported by educators who know the children best: their parents. This allows our families to make the perfect educational pathway for each learner. So long live the Gig Economy. It’s going to make for a lot of happy workers, and also make for a lot of happy kids, too.
5) Trend: Social Activism Workspace Equivalent: Tech-Savvy Communicators
In the Age of Obama and then even more in the Age of Trump, young people have turned to become “the change that we believe in.” And to fight the change they don’t believe in. Three trends underlie this: social media, cell phone usage, and passionate young people with access to both. Here at Workspace, we put technology at the center of learning, or as we put it in our Mission Statement, we are a “technology-rich, state-of-the-art educational environment that allows children to reach their potential.” Our learners both work and play with the latest tech toys every day. These technologies are the tools of creation for this generation. We encourage authentic expression, and one of the six key points of our Vision is that learners “Find Their Voice.” So our learners strongly reflect this trend very well, and given their knowledge of the world and concern for human rights, Workspacians will certainly be at the forefront of change.
So there you go. The world is moving ahead to the future, and Workspace is (in some cases) already there. That’s why we say Workspace is “Future-Proof Education”, and why we are on the cutting edge of many trends, including the future of education.