Learning Spaces


Introduction

Presently, learning spaces are in a state of flux as teachers, and students, all over the world struggle to integrate technology into education. A classroom no longer consists strictly of the space in-between the four walls that surround it. Technology continues to permeate the classroom by changing the content we teach, the instructional strategies we use, who we interact with and what is expected of both students and us. Our classrooms are connected like never before to the world, bringing issues and experiences that were once far away close to home. We believe that the changing state of education currently offers a unique opportunity to provide students with the individualized and differentiated instruction they require. As a result, no student, no matter where they are from or what their difficulties are, is left behind.

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Image taken from: http://rliberni.wordpress.com/tag/21st-century-learning/


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New Learning Spaces

As our use of educational technologies continues to grow the look and feel of future classrooms, and learning environments, is constantly evolving. Traditionally learning spaces have been “associated with a physical location such as a school, library or classroom; however, the concept is increasingly expanded to include online learning, victual schools, and blended opportunities that combine traditional with digital options” (Drexler, 2010, p. 369). The change to traditional learning spaces is also being hurried along by web 2.0 and the access it gives teachers to open source materials, easy to use web applications, and resources. With the growth of web 2.0, the ideas surrounding learning spaces are radically changing from teacher centered lecture and note taking to a much more student centered “environment centered around creating collaborative, student-authored resources.” In addition Web 2.0 works as a “mechanism for providing feedback on student assignments and to give voice to communities and encourage idea sharing” (Harrison, 2009, p.12). Lastly, in the future learning technologies will allow for instruction to take place out of the classroom. Students can communicate with the teacher, and each other, online using teacher created or existing software and learning will not stop once students leave school.
In this section we will focus on three of the more important changes to learning spaces:
  1. Personalized Learning Environments
  2. Ubiquitous Learning
  3. The Classroom of the Future

Personalization will become increasingly important to learning spaces in the future because digital technologies enable personalization which allow for “enabling learners to make informed educational choices; diversifying and acknowledging different forms of skills and knowledge; the creation of diverse learning environments; and the development of learner focused forms of assessment and feedback” (Green et al., 2005, p 3). Our idea of where we learn will also continue to expand because of our constant and immediate access to information using smartphones, laptops, and other computer like devices. Learning will become ubiquitous and will no longer be restricted to inside the classroom, it will become a part of our everyday lives. The physical space where learning takes place will also began to change as classrooms will need to be redesigned to accommodate new approaches to learning advantages. Classrooms will need a “wide range of space types…[because]there are many different ways of achieving a successful learning environment” (Design Tech, 2011, p. 37). In this section we will explain how all of these changes to learning spaces will not only motivate and engage students but will also lead to better learning.

Below are some videos explaining what learning spaces are, a panel discussing learning spaces, and how learning spaces need to change to better meet the needs of students.


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Below are the pictorial representation of the changes technology has brought to learning spaces. The ideas represented in the pictures will be further examined and explained throughout the section about learning spaces.

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Image taken from:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2011/09/01/the-single-best-idea-for-reforming-k-12-education/


principles-reinvented-education.jpg
Image taken from:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2011/08/04/whats-involved-in-reinventing-education/


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Next: The Classroom of the Future

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