The first ever Learning Spaces Aoteraoa - an educator's insights
NZ educator Steve Mouldey dives into the key themes of the NZ Chapter's first one-day conference.
Last week, I attended the first Learning Spaces Aotearoa conference put on by Learning Environments New Zealand (thanks to winning a ticket through their Facebook page). It was a really inspiring day and the conversations were slightly different than normal edu conferences because of the mix of people present – teachers, Ministry and architects. Across the speakers I heard, conversations I had and the site visits that I experienced, there were some key themes to emerge from the day.
Welby Ings opened the conference with a provocative keynote, with key points that resonated across the rest of the day. By the end of our schooling, students have learned in more than 30 formal classroom spaces all of which impact our cognitive, social and emotional reactions to learning. As people are neurodiverse, we will all interpret and process information differently within these spaces. Welby set out 3 key themes to consider when designing learning spaces, which apply whether it is a traditional 4 walled classroom or a newly built innovative learning environment.
Cognitively open space
Many classrooms are full of essentially closed text – teachers posters on walls, colourful posters that cause us to absorb information, not to provoke our thinking. This includes students work on walls that are finished products. Open texts cause us to ponder, asks us a question. You want want objects in the learning space that ask us a question, that haunts us and makes us think about it for longer?