Sunday 30 October 2011

A pop-up university of the future?

The 2012 Learning Without Frontiers conference will be taking place at Olympia. The website makes the following announcement:

Our design team are busy re-imagining the interior of Olympia’s National Hall to create a “pop-up university of the future” presenting an entirely new experience for our delegates and attendees.

It is interesting to see that the notion of a Pop Up School (#popupschool) has caught on at this event which aims to be a source of disruptive thinking in education. The flashy and obviously very expensive pods illustrated above are a far cry from our Pop Up School at the Creativity World Forum in 2010. Our DIY booth (named 1001/2 because we were not assigned a proper place in the venue and had to squueeze ourselves in between booths 100 and 101) was resourced with paper, pens and other stationary items that we had scrounged from other exhibitors, and yet we were equipped with a number of digital devices (iPod Touches, iPads, laptops, cameras) that enabled us to exist online and engage visitors with the concept of a virtual school.

We certainly confused a few people. "So, what time does your pop up school start?" and "Do the students have to wear a uniform?" were frequently asked questions. But I like to think that we also raised a few eyebrows and delighted a few visitors with our proposition that the idea of a school is changing due to the different ways in which we are able to learn in the 21st century.

I am tempted to book a ticket to LWF2012 to see what a big budget "pop-up university of the future" might look like. You get a 'free' iPad if you book in the next two days (price £800). However, I hope that it will look and feel and function a bit more like this.

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