The Future Of Student Accommodation
The future of student accommodation can be a fun discussion. Colleges have gone from basic rooms for the undergraduates to rooms that are essentially apartments in their own right.
There are a number of different ways that future rooms can be easily updated, but not all of these are necessarily in ways that some would expect to meet the needs of students, and with our student accommodation in Canterbury, we certainly hope to keep up with trends.
The needs of future students are reasonably easy to predict especially considering how rooms have advanced and the ways in which students have gotten used to living. There are few questions of some of those advances.
First, let us consider the origins of student living. When universities were first founded, there were no dormitories. The students were expected to find their own rooms, with the only expectation that they be close to the campus.
This alone limited the universities to the rich, as poor students were not able to afford even the cheapest rooms. There were some advantages to doing it this way for the student, as meals were prepared by a house mistress to be eaten communally, the rooms were cleaned by her daughters or hired help, and it was expected that the students would either be studying or carousing.
Eventually, these flats would give way to dormitories. These were bare bone affairs modelled after monk quarters, with a common cafeteria. The students were expected to care for their own rooms, and the rooms were made solely for the purpose of studying.
While the students did have the option to rent their own flats away from the campus, these would eventually become less communal and more self-contained. Suffice to say that fraternities would eventually rise up and take the place of communal living, complete with someone to handle the basic cooking and maintenance of the fraternity house.
Basic amenities were added with each passing century, but dormitories were usually a step behind the rest of society. Indoor heating was a major advance, followed by group bathrooms and showers.
Common areas would eventually be added, even though they were basically recreation rooms with a few chairs, some basic tables, and maybe some form of simple entertainment such as a pool or ping pong table.
Eventually, an older television would be added, and then a simple VCR. Eventually, cable would be added to that television. The last major advantage added to dorm rooms would be the mini-fridge, usually available for rental even though some were available for sale.
That was then, this is now. While older dormitories are still maintained and have limited amenities, others have actually become somewhat more advanced, and are roughly the equivalent of actual apartments.
While most rooms still require that students eat in a cafeteria and shower in the same facilities, the common television is more likely to be high definition with access to basic cable and possibly even some movie channels. Some dorms even have consoles attached to the television, allowing for students to let off some steam together. This is expected to only get better, as colleges take advantage of online gaming services to enable libraries of games available to whoever is in front of the television.
Dorm rooms have had outlets as long as electricity was available, but they are expected to take new importance in a wireless age. The outlets are more likely to be surge protected, and wireless internet is likely to only increase.
It is likely that a student will have greater access to online classes, enabling them to go to class without even leaving their bedroom. They will also have a greater capacity to deliver homework assignments via e-mail and other services, as well as even possibly taking quizzes and exams from their rooms. As some colleges already give their students laptops, it is not hard to see colleges also give their students tablets for some classes.
Some schools already take advantage of mobile phones in order to keep their students linked, and it is possible that some will take greater advantage of that. Tickets are available online through apps already, so that is likely to actually increase, as they are used to register for classes and take classes.
Some museums offer audio tours; through augmented reality apps, the phone could be used to give history lessons on school buildings and other locations. The phone could also be used in tandem with monitors to allow students to discuss classes in their rooms; the students could call up information as needed or draw out what they are thinking.
With holographic technology coming up, this can only make life for students that much more interesting. While virtual reality is limited to some phones, it can only make some classes, such as medical classes, easier as the student could do dissections over the phone, enabling them to learn surgery without needing to touch a real cadaver.
For science and history classes, this means a teacher can immerse his students in relevant material without the necessity of a classroom. In general, as education learns to take greater advantage of technology, it is possible that students could get a full educational experience without ever leaving their house, making dormitories possibly obsolete in the future.