A New Learning Space

Back in September I had an enjoyable Creative Conversation with students and adults who could add to the thinking about that problem space, Rooms 11-14 @materdeiwagga. In mid October, I shared the feedback from the creative conversation with teachers who were interested in addressing the challenges of ‘that problem space’. One conclusion from those conversations was that any new furniture had to have chairs with ‘backs’ and there must be more “desk real estate”, as compared to another transformed space within the school, The Glasshouse. However, the furniture must still maintain the necessary agility and flexibility to move “between spaces” which accommodate individual work, work in pairs, small group work and large group / whole class work as outlined in a 2011 OECD Report

Key Operational Domains - OECD 2011
Key Operational Domains – OECD 2011

This furniture could be placed within the “Ideal Learning Space” (OECD 2011) as seen below,

 The Ideal Learning Space - OECD 2011

which supports various learning contexts (OECD, 2011).

Supportive Learning Contexts - OECD 2011
Supportive Learning Contexts – OECD 2011

The conversation with teachers focused on furniture within the problem space; however, it soon steered towards the space outside Rooms 11-14. Another creative conversation quickly visualised a combination of learning spaces which accounts for both informal social group learning and formal individual learning. Some examples of what I am talking about….

Madgeburg Library, Germany
Madgeburg Library, Germany
Merida Youth Factory, Spain.
Merida Youth Factory, Spain.

More thinking by the principal post meeting confirmed that a mix of indoor/outdoor learning spaces supports and promotes the College’s increasing commitment to collaborative learning. It resulted in an interesting sketch which included ‘waterholes’ and ‘camp-fires’ as discussed in Ewan McIntosh’s The Seven Spaces of Technology. These spaces, within a Large Group Learning Area which flows into Outdoor Learning Common, can creatively add to innovative learning initiatives already in place at the College. Initiatives such as Year 7 TED, Year 8 Religion, Year 8 English, Year 8 HSIE, Year 10 Australian Studies and Tear 11 Studies of Religion 1 Unit could benefit from an agile space which values community and promotes engaged learning enhanced through mobile technologies. Furthermore, such a space supports the overall learning vision of the College which is for students to become ‘self-directed learners’ through the provision of learning opportunities which provide students with greater choice of subject matter, learning methods and pace of study. It also strives for students become more involved in decision‐making processes, extensively use digital technologies and increasingly ‘learn by doing’ with relevance to the real world. It also acknowledges that our teachers are no longer a part of 20th century ‘push’ for change, rather they a 21st facilitators of learning who are creating a new learning paradigm. Any new indoor/outdoor space needs to address the extremes of Wagga heat. For hotter days, there needs to be fans, shade and access to cold (filtered?) water. In the cold, overhead heaters with clear plastic blinds which ‘trap’ the heat and act as a wind break are very necessary. It would be good to see flexible tables and chairs to allow for sitting and standing, and an experimental space like a market garden for “From the Paddock to the Plate”. Inside, there could be a small stage for one person or small group presentations. Wow! This is exciting. Now, for the architects! I welcome your comments. Greg