The “Vision” Experience

Griffin Hall, at the Northern Kentucky University College of Informatics, brings technology and the arts together into one signature space. It houses the academic departments of Business Informatics, Computer Science and Communication, and the Center for Applied Informatics. Griffin Hall is one of four learning environments on the EDspaces architect-led tour. The buildings exemplify sustainability, creative design, innovative interiors, and learning beyond four walls. The tour is sponsored by the AIA’s Committee on Architecture for Education. Photo courtesy of Goody Clancy architects, Boston.

by Tina Manzer

It’s pretty hard to sell furniture, supplies and equipment to schools if you can’t imagine what the future of education looks like. Luckily for dealers in our industry, there’s EDspaces, a trade show devoted to showing all of us what creative schools and learning environments look – and feel – like. This year, if  you sell kitchen equipment, for instance, you’ll learn how the farm-to-table movement is impacting food preparation in schools. (You’ll even get to taste it.) Or, as a classroom furniture dealer, hear how immersive learning is changing the layout of typical schoolrooms; or how the need for movement and flexibility is influencing the design of traditional desks, tables and seating. It’s all there in Cincinnati. Appropriatley, Ohio has one of the largest and most active public K-12 school rebuilding programs, and is number-one in the nation for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) schools.

The information you get at EDspaces can position you and your business as a trusted and knowledgeable source for your customers. Here’s what’s in store.

New – The Dealer Boot Camp

On Tuesday afternoon, November 1, a host of experienced dealers and other school facility experts will offer practical, one-hour sessions, from 1 to 5 p.m., followed by a happy hour. The sessions provide:

  • A snapshot of current trends in school construction, including state-of-the-art concepts that are driving change;
  • An explanation about how the school procurement process works, along with the school purchasing cycle and the bid process; and
  • How to write specifications for school furniture.

Get educated

By attending sessions during EDspaces (there are more than 30 to choose from) you can earn American Institute for Architects learning units and/or Health, Safety, and Welfare credits. Here are just a few of the topics that can help you better understand the future of learning.

“Outdated and Underutilized Classrooms and Libraries – The Evolution of Learning and Media Spaces”

In this roundtable discussion, a panel that includes an architect, a school superintendent, a librarian and a university facilities administrator will talk about the ways changes in media have impacted learning environments. They’ll discuss the new roles of school spaces, and pitfalls to avoid.

“Take a Stand for Active Learning Environments”

Sitting for long periods negatively affects student performance and well-being. Here, ergonomist Josh Kerst from Safco Products talks about the need for movement in classrooms, and the impact of chairs on our bodies.

“What’s in Your Space?” 

Two experts discuss how to create a learning space that makes the most of technology usage, global skills and Gen Z learning styles.

“The Maker Mindset: Design for Learning Trends”

Attendees can tap into their own “maker mindsets” to design learner-friendly environments for grades K through 12. The discussion will cover trends, what’s missing in learning commons and makerspaces, and ways to meet the personalized and collaborative needs of students.

“Envisioning the Future of School Food”

Five speakers will discuss the trends in sustainable food and how they are influencing school building practices. Among those trends are sourcing foods from school gardens and local farms, recycling and composting, and teaching students about food and nutrition in green school dining centers and classrooms.

See for yourself

In addition to the education sessions, the 2016 EDspaces Conference & Expo features four unique, furnished learning spaces designed by leading architects.

  1. Classroom #302, for personalized and immersive learning experiences. It features individual study spaces, gathering areas, stages and exhibition area.
  2. Classroom #314, for flexibility. This classroom easily morphs from lecture mode to teamwork mode to individualized learning mode.
  3. Classroom #2148, with furniture by Business Interiors by Staples. It’s designed for flexibility, comfort, and to accommodate individual learning styles.
  4. Classroom #326, an agile, technology rich environment with the built-in capability of quick reconfiguration. The space can easily morph from six distinct learning zones to one all-school gathering space for events.


EDspaces attendees can enjoy a sustainable, budget-conscious, school-style lunch on Wednesday, November 2 and Thursday, November 3, at the School Cafeteria set up right on the exhibit floor. Managed by Beyond Green Sustainable Food Partners in conjunction with other organizations, the cafeteria will feature visual storyboards that illustrate how students can enjoy meals made from scratch using fresh, local-sourced ingredients.

Beyond Green has teamed up with Candacity, Denver Equipment Company and Foodservice Facility Designs by LMS Development LLC, to provide sustainable school food communities that connect school kitchens, classrooms and local communities through food and education.

Don’t miss this opportunity to see the latest new products from more than 150 exhibitors, and network with furniture manufacturers and distributors, architects and school facilities planners. It’s not too late to register; visit

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