This semester I was given the opportunity to “unpack” the notion of learning spaces – 6 of them in fact. To be honest, I wasn’t consciously aware there WERE 6 before I began the Unit “The Learning Space”. During the last 12 weeks however, I have learned much about learning spaces, their differences, their focus, their strengths and their challenges and mostly their relevance to education and lifelong learning – not just for students, but for teachers as well.
I have had the opportunity to explore so many facets of each of these learning spaces, and to change my way of thinking about what a learning space IS and IS NOT. I have been able to identify myself and my own learning practices in each of these spaces – as a teacher in the Classroom space and Beyond the Classroom, and as a student myself this year – in my own Personal Learning Space, the e-space of my online studies at ACU, the collaborative space of my eCop in each of my 8 units, and what at times feels like the chronic liminal space I have often found myself suspended in over the last 8 months. I have learned that at times I may find myself fully engaged and fully actualised in these spaces, and yet at other times I have relocated to the periphery, observing , but still learning. Always learning. It has helped me to stand in the black leather bata-scouts of my future students, and shown me to always be mindful of their learning needs, their learning journeys – and to incorporate and/or provide opportunities for a range of learning spaces to make their learning experiences richer, more engaging and more relevant.
For so long if I heard the term “learning space” my mind would automatically jump to the physicality of a classroom space, but I can honestly say that my mind now has many places to jump to, and see the possibility for learning to occur, and be relevant and meaningful for the learner. The physical space of a classroom has even changed now from what I used to picture it as, as 21st Century learning opens up options and alternative visions for what a classroom design can entail. The following article is well worth a read, as it snapshots the possibilities for all educators to consider in terms of creating a physical learning space withing schools (oh how I love Finland ). If you have time, please check it out.
As I wrote at the start of this PLN, I am a former teacher, returning to the classroom, and I have had many a moment considering what the future may hold for me as an educator in the 21st century. Although its all speculative, but based on current practices I have come across through exploring and researching theoretical underpinnings of learning spaces, I believe learning spaces of the future will probably see a shift from the traditional physical classroom spaces of the past. It’s already happening in so many schools here in Australia, as well as around the world.
I see an emphasis on Personalised learning, and e-learning (and mlearning) in particular. A culture of collaborative learning will continue to create communities of learning, and learning spaces where individual interests and a learner’s passion sees greater scope for a learner’s creativity, and development of problem-solving and critical thinking skills can occur in a collaborative environment.
The role of a teacher will not likely be in the mold of traditional teacher-in-front-of-class – but instead educators will be facilitators, guides, curators,collaborators – architects and tailors of learning if you will – and where ICT will be part of every learner’s, and every educator’s daily learning pathway.
Another interesting article I found talks about the future of education, from the perspective of current innovative educators, from the TED-Ed Blog. Have a read- you might agree or disagree with their thoughts. Feel free to share your views here!
I also discovered this YouTube clip about a visionary perspective of what the future of education could look like….it’s certainly highlights the possibilities!!