Stephen Harris is the principal of Northern Beaches Christian School and director of the Sydney Centre for Learning Innovation, in New South Wales, Australia. The topic of his keynote was, "Factories No More: They key role design and furniture has in enabling teachers to change pedagogy." Stephen discussed how education innovation breaks through disengagement and re-engages students into learning.
His keynote was thought provoking and challenged the audience's preconceptions and ideas.
The important ideas that will stay with me from this presentation are:
School buildings will probably be out of date in twenty years.
Architects should not draw furniture on their plans. This starts to set the pedagogy.
Key questions for learning spaces - "How do I learn?","How do I want to learn?", "Where do I want to learn?"
What implications does mobile technology have for education? How do you keep technology as the pedagogic tool, not the driver?
How will economies affect learning? For example, will it be feasible to maintain and operate educational facilities like universities at the current level we have now?
We need to unlearn and relearn pedagogic design. We need to disrupt our mental models, or teachers will revert to what they have always done, not relearn.
The end product of education has to have a purpose. This could be social cohesion, community development or job creation. This means our designs need to have purpose and meaning, be future oriented, sustainable and allow for growth.
School designs need to be agile, perpetual blank canvases, that can be continually reconfigured.
There are buildings less than ten years old, that are already requiring modifications and alterations to meet purpose. How can we minimise this?
Stephen had some recommended reading for educators:
Check out "
Michael Barber discusses his essay, "Oceans of Innovation" about the rise of the Asia Pacific region. (Available free from Amazon.)
My name is Ngaire Shepherd-Wills. This website is a record of my TeachNZ sabbatical, Term 2, 2013 and then I have continued to share my wonderings and discoveries about Innovative Learning Practices. I now work for CORE Education. Views are my own.