So… we are all now familiar with the debate on traditional vs. modern learning methods:
Moving from teaching as a “broadcast” of expert content to enhancement of learning via curriculum that makes the learner an active participant (Oblinger, 2006).
Well, considering the latter, it is no surprise that learning spaces (classrooms, informal spaces etc.) have gained a progressively more important role in untilising this modern learning. My blog this week was inspired by a great short video I found (Trung, 2011) – I have included the link at the end of the blog and I would definitely recommend having a look…
So… Trung (2011) talks about the physical environment surrounding students, as the ‘third teacher’. Currently, designs promote “instructor transmission” with students all facing the front in a rigid setting (Oblinger, 2006). Floor plans should be fostering face-to-face contact and sharing of learning resources (Temple, 2007). Subsequently, powerful learning environments can be created if careful attention is paid to floor plans, furniture and technology – For example, in the Fuji Kindergarten (see below), there are no fixed walls between learning spaces. This allows flexible and agile learning to flow through the school.
So, why aren’t we seeing more learning environments like these? In the 1990s, access to IT was all that was needed but today increasing production of technologies means that ‘access’ isn’t enough anymore – the focus has shifted from finding information, to applying it in productive and innovative ways (JISC, 2006). Learning spaces need to foster DISCOVERY and INNOVATION; they cannot simply contain them.
Classrooms, lecture theatres and seminar rooms NEED to create excitement about learning – an ‘ecology of learning’ (Trung, 2011). For example at Dandenong Senior High School in Australia (see below), classrooms extend outdoors : to create a physical connection between the learning environment and the real world.
If we allow ‘product experts’ (the students and teachers) to set their learning goals and then create spaces specifically designed to achieve these – we can build powerful learning environments that are agile and flexible – a technological community can develop in which information is no longer sought BUT powerfully implemented by each learner !
The Third Teacher VIDEO