Innovative Learning Environment

@ Tamatea Intermediate

Why an 'Innovative Learning Environment'?

Over the last decade or so we have witnessed some changes to education the way we have known it. These changes have taken place for a number of reasons; further research into our understanding about how the brain works, globalisation, advancements in digital technology and the way we retrieve and store information and changes to society in general. An area which has also seen change is that of the design of the buildings within which education takes place. Aging architecture no longer suits the changes we are seeing in society but more importantly, the learners’ of today. The ‘assembly line’ model of one teacher teaching many children one subject area in a set amount of time was never equitable for all learners (Osbourne, 2016).

The pedagogical shift required to make this environment successful for all stakeholders necessitates an understanding about the reasons why these buildings are being built. This is true not only for educators but for our whole community. The parents of the students who will be learners in this space with us need to be informed about why and how the teaching and learning will be different from what they are used to. Learning at school needs to reflect what is is like in the real world.

Innovation is becoming a pervasive term in education discourse today. Couros (pg. 19) defines innovation as a “way of thinking that creates something new or better”. Innovation is about a mindset; a new way of thinking about how we provide experiences in our schools for today’s learners. For innovation to take place, we all need this mindset in place and we can't be satisfied with the answer that is the way we have always done it. An Innovative Learning Environment (ILE) is built for change.

We need to create classrooms that work for students. The process starts with putting students first. It becomes less about adult control and more about trusting your learners. We CAN navigate around structural constraints of a timetable to ensure the learning happening in our classes is student centered; providing opportunities for when by having learners create their own timetable and to show how by encouraging different ways to make their learning visible are two ways we can give agency to students. Learning to manage their own behaviour and learning tasks so they become self-regulated learners is the goal. Self-regulation moves learners’ from being passive recipients to being much more active in the learning process.

Research suggests that education in today’s world is becoming more about the learning process, having real world audiences, creating and initiating authentic contexts to work within for our learners. Learning looks different today than it did when many of us were at school.

This video would be valuable to listen to if you wish to gain more in depth understanding of why Innovative Learning Environments are the way forward all around the world.

It is collection of all the interviews with the speakers at the "Barcelona International Conference on Learning Leadership" (December 2013) about what is an Innovative Learning Environment in different countries and situations.

Richard Wells is a Deputy Principal in a New Zealand High School. He is the author of 'A Learners' Paradise' and an international presenter.

In this post 'The danger of students doing what they're told', Richard explains why we need our learners to be developing mindsets which see them making decisions for themselves.

This link will take you to Richard's blog site where you will find other posts about 21Century Learning.

This is Pernille Ripp's ISTE2015 Ignite session on 'Giving Our Classrooms back to the kids' ... have a listen. It will take 5 minutes.

This article is a nice explanation as to how technology is changing the way education looks.

"Teachers will form a central point in the jungle of information that our students will be paving their way through."

This short video explains 'the shift'.

The shift from:

compliance to engagement to empowerment.