Dec 6, 2018

Diving into the Future of Educational Facilities: EDspaces 2018

A virtual who's who of key decision makers at schools, colleges, and universities involved in the design, build, management or renovation of an educational facility converged at EDspaces 2018, November 7-9 in Tampa, FL. Nearly 2,300 education leaders (architects, distributors, Pre K-12, colleges, universities, independent manufacturer representatives, exhibitors, and corporations) gathered to explore challenges, strengthen skills, and build networks. 

Two pre-conference events, the Learning Lab, Safety & Security and Educational Distribution Symposium on Tuesday kicked off the event, while visionary keynoters inspired the audience each full conference day. Wednesday Plenary session was delivered by Michael Horn, author of Amazon bestseller, Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, and Thursday featured a joint presentation by Chris Lehmann, Science Leadership Academy CEO, and Diana Laufenberg, Executive Director of Inquiry Schools, who shared their message on Creating the Schools We Need.

EDspaces is the only event featuring six innovative classroom designs, inspiring attendees and exemplifying the future of educational facilities. Each is developed to accommodate a wide variety of presentations, demonstrating learning areas for students of various ages, as well as a comfortable space for adult learners. 

Attendees explored the intersection of free play and enhanced learning at the PLAYces Specialty Area sponsored by EDmarket Knowledge Partner, KaBOOM!, built onsite in the exhibit hall. Creative principles of STEAM and the application of child-directed, unstructured play through hands-on, inquiry-based learning will be featured. The Specialty Area illustrates how play positively impacts innovation, collaboration, and critical thinking, creating opportunities for enhanced learning.

Expeditionary learning occurred on two distinct tours, one focused on the school environment and one showcasing higher education spaces, with educationally-rich site visits featuring sustainability, creative design, and innovative interiors. Additional evening tours were offered at nearby USF Health Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) and the University of Tampa’s Plant Hall & Henry B. Plant Museum, with its famous onion domes. Every tour included an educational component in a variety of learning environments, and each qualified for AIA LU/HSW credit.

It was a good week for Hillsborough County public schools that not only approved a 10-year sales surtax that will pump $131 million annually into much-needed upgrades at hundreds of aging campuses across the county on election day during EDspaces, but also was the recipient of  truckloads of furniture donated by EDspaces exhibitors. Vendors donated their EDspaces display furniture to 9 different Hillsborough County Achievement Schools. Donations ranged from desks to shelves, chairs, rugs, cabinets, and more. In total, the donations of classroom furniture and equipment were donated over the weekend to local schools at the conclusion of EDspaces, valued at more than $215,000.

Each year, EDspaces evolves progressively to encourage networking and give participants an opportunity to forge lifelong professional connections throughout the education sector and experience product innovations in educational facilities. Next year's event will take place October 23-25 in Milwaukee, WI. For more information, visit

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