So, what's all the buzz about Modern Learning Environments (MLE)?
What exactly is a MLE?
I found this definition on Core Education's website that I thought explained the idea brilliantly:
An opportunity to design and build a Modern Learning Environment is an opportunity to create spaces fit for 21st century learners. As much as it’s about buildings and furnishings, it’s about creating spaces that promote learning that is personalised, student-centred, engaging and connected to real problems and the real world.
Modern Learning Environments can help create the environment, mindsets and human capacity to help our young people make the most of their talents on the local and global stage. For them to be confident and capable to lead change, be creative, innovative and, above all, great citizens.
There is much research taking place, but indications are that a well designed learning environment has a positive impact on student outcomes. As educators, we have spent much of the last ten years focused on 21st century learning. The developing of MLE's is adding another element to support and nurture the learning of our digital natives. Of course, a building alone will not meet the needs of today's learners. Hand in hand with MLE's comes effective pedagogies. The transition from a stand alone classroom to a MLE brings many challenges for both teachers and students. It is vital that there is support and professional development.
From: "Research into the connection between built learning spaces and student outcomes." Literature Review. Paper No. 22, June 2011. Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Victoria, Australia.
" the review highlighted the critical role of teacher professional learning and pedagogy as key mediating factors. Unless teachers are prepared and are provided with the necessary professional skills, tools and resources to change their practices, then new built spaces will not move them to innovative pedagogies."
To view the complete report, click here.
My sabbatical project aims to investigate the impact of modern learning environments on pedagogical practice and student learning experiences. I am planning to spend time in my own school and visit others to question, explore and investigate these wonderings:
What are the challenges when transitioning to a MLE for both teachers and students?
What changes to pedagogy are required?
What are the benefits to both teachers and students from teaching and learning in a MLE?
It should be quite a journey!
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.