My Space, sounds like a social media platform. There are, of course, similarities between the two; learning is social. The My Space social media platform is clearly a model that is past its use by date; is this because it has not changed with the times?
My previous space was a colour coded, cross-referenced, silhouetted tools on the wall, vocational training establishment, a remnant of a by-gone era of industrial Taylorism. My new space is designed to meet our school goals of Connect, Inspire, Soar. Our curriculum learning focus is on ensuring that learners outcomes and understandings enable Sustainability, Enterprise, and Empowerment.
In a single cells and bells classroom you can ensure silence or any other power play tool that you choose to employ. Showing a video will not disturb other learners, nor will noisy activities. Being a peripatetic teacher has its challenges. However, the advantages of a collaborative and supportive teaching team that challenges and inspires you every day far out weigh any perceived loss that I may grieve for because I am, at times, outside my comfort zone.
When I meet people for the first time I try to avoid that judgemental trap of ‘how are you, what do you do’. However, I acknowledge that it is easy to tie your self-worth to your job and by extension, your personality. So how do you teach and inject your personality in an Innovative Learning Space?
In addition to our shared space we also have the space is in our heads; with a growth mind-set this is the single most powerful tool a teacher/learner has in their tool kit. Our other spaces include the virtual space of Hapara and Google Docs where we can personalise learning ensuring equity. The most powerful learning space is the collaborative space where students learn from each other, ako.
Beyond the sound lock doors, one of the few doors in our school, is the Product Design Studio that I am responsible for. I am very fortunate to have a space, so how will I organise it?
I want my students to solve real world problems through critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and innovative creativity. I want my students to use new and emerging technologies to create their own products by selecting from a wide range of materials and processes.
To achieve this, I firstly need to ensure that the students have the time to engage in design in a meaningful way to achieve deeper learning. These fit-for-purpose designs are usually evident by the way the designer has shown empathy for the user. Secondly, ensuring quality tools and equipment are available. Thirdly, by supporting and knowing the learner as a continuous dialogue.
The physical learning space enables the cerebral pedagogical space that the teacher, as a designer of learning experiences, has chosen to create – that is My Space that I wish to inhabit.