Purposeful Learning Spaces in a Nutshell
We talk about MLE and ILEs but, time and time again the first things people jump to usually include (and in no particular order) ‘Massive space’, “Noise’, ‘Lots of people’, ‘Busy’, ‘Free-range Learning’ and the reality is that you can spout off research and examples etc until you are blue in the face but the end result is usually the same: the eyes of our audience would rapidly glaze over and the brain would follow a train of thoughts that is more inline with the ‘latest rugby score, what’s for tea or who am I going to play with at lunchtime’. So how do we address this? How do we support students, parents and whānau to not only understand but embrace the direction of learning spaces and what it means for our learners?
After having the pleasure of working with Derek Wenmoth a few weeks back, the answer became glaringly obvious…..it is all about purposeful and meaningful learning and learning spaces and using imagery that reflects your audience to demonstrate this. So here are some examples of how it can be done:
Let’s start with the humble house, something that most people can relate to. What rooms are there? There is the kitchen, lounge, bathroom and bedroom….and each of these places have a specific purpose. For example, you are not likely to cook your sunday roast in your bedroom or have your daily shower in the lounge. And why? Well, put simply those spaces are not designed for those purposes and the resources are not available etc. So as you can see each space is made for it’s purpose and therefore used for that purpose.
Starting to see the connection now?
Let’s try another example:
The hospital, not my favourite place to be honest, but it does have a very clear purpose. Not only does the place itself have a purpose but parts within the building have specific purposes too. When you might have broken a bone, there is the X-ray department or if you are about you to have an operation there is the surgery ward and so on. The reality is that if you want to meet a specific need then you go to the place that meets that specific criteria….I mean it all reality you don’t want to be trying to deliver your first child in the cafeteria or have the surgeon carrying out your knee replacement in the reception area.
Ok, these were a few examples and I am sure that you can come up with many more of your own but the trick now is to relate it back to the teaching and learning at school in those flexible learning spaces. This is where the work by David D. Thornburg comes in through his research article on “Campfires in Cyberspace: Primordial Metaphors for Learning in the 21st Century”....this is where the spaces in a MLE, ILE or whatever you wish to call it, come in to play:
This is just one way to get across the idea of purposeful learning spaces and I am sure you have many more so please do share:
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