Classrooms around the world have been the equivalent of open offices almost since their inception. Is this the best way? Some new research shows that schools may want to think about how the classroom affects their students.

Open offices are as bad as they seem—they reduce face-to-face time by 70%:

Employees at two Fortune 500 multinational companies saw face-to-face interaction time drop by about 70 percent, the use of email increase between 22 percent and 56 percent, and productivity slip after their traditional office spaces were converted to open floor plans—that is, ones without walls or cubicles that ostensibly create barriers to interaction.

These studies were done with adults, and not children, so they had more choice over how to interact with others, but, are classrooms the best we can do?

The demands and resources arising from shared office spaces – ScienceDirect

• As work environments become more shared workers report increased demands.

• As work environments become more shared workers report decreased supervisor support.
• Co-worker friendships are not improved by working in shared work spaces. 

Can shared workspaces work in schools? Of course. The younger the student, the greater demands for supervision and support. But, could high schools gain from decreasing shared workspaces?