The Association for Learning Environments’ SchoolsNEXT programme has grown up in many ways. In its initial years, 2006-2013, SchoolsNEXT was known as the School of the Future Competition, engaging middle school students across the globe. With the intent to bring the student voice into the planning and design of innovative and resilient 21st century learning environments, the SchoolsNEXT programme began with a holistic approach to learning through the arts – integrating all areas of study, engaging all learners and offering an opportunity for students to demonstrate critical thinking and creativity in achieving solutions to real-world problems. To create and facilitate the structures and opportunities for these powerful connections is a significant part of working thoughtfully with student-centred educational and social systems in which they are genuinely affirmed and encouraged to build self-confidence. Working as a collaborative team, the programme encourages them to use their “visual arts” voice to design and effect change in the world.
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