Friday, 14 March 2008

21st Century Learning Environments - the Learning Plaza

Visiting a school in Maidstone UK last week, I was really impressed to see the first of three 'Learning Plaza's' that is already in use. The other two are currently being developed. .

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Ninety students use this intriguing and very flexible space for between 50%/60% of their lessons and already it has been reported that it has, apparently, had an amazing impact on improving their learning, attendance and behaviour. The 'specialness' of the space is highlighted by fantastic acoustics (a pet hobby horse of mine), adjustable lighting and a wide variety of moveable furniture which creates learning zones. (Students also remove shoes in this room which adds to the the special nature of it.) Just out of shot on the right is a small seminar / breakout room with large windows for small group work..

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All students have their own handheld device to work on, in addition to the PC's shown and there is a large focus on technology which will be expanded further in the new spaces with high levelk screens etc. The flexible space allows a full range of teaching and learning styles between same / different year groups working on same / different subjects..

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This space is very similar to the many new learning environments we are building in the Cayman Islands - it is encouraging to see the practice we want to develop already working effectively. We should really build relationships and share good practice around the world as we develop what is being called future teaching styles today. By working together we learn from each other - why reinvent the wheel?

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