Monday, 16 January 2017
Today was the first day of our week long block course in digital enhancement through the University of Auckland. It was an interactive day where we looked deeply into a number of learning theories. We each had to prepare a 15 minute activity which focused on the major concepts of one of nine readings. My activity was based around the text, Evaluating the change in space in a technology-enabled Primary Years setting, by Terry Byers and Wesley Imms (2016). I found this text really interesting as it gave a number of theoretical explanations for the changes in physical classroom spaces which are seen in many schools today. I found it particularly interesting learning about the change from a one-spot focus in the class (where a teacher tends to teach from only one area of the classroom), to a classroom with no single focus (known as a "polycentric layout", p. 205).
The task which I created around this reading encouraged my colleagues to think about their classroom spaces from last year, and the classroom spaces they will be teaching in this year. They sketched out a floor plan of their classrooms and then discussed and planned what changes could be made to give their classrooms a realistic polycentric layout. We discussed how difficult it was to achieve this in older classroom spaces which were not purpose built and without purpose-built fittings. It definitely made us all think about our practice and whether we tend to teach from one 'comfortable' spot or whether we move around a lot during the day.
Here are the slides which display some of our more 'polycentric' classrooms:
I found it interesting that this reading gave purpose to these physical classroom changes, such as allowing for ubiquitous learning which encouraged creativity and collaboration while giving students agency. These are all goals and principles which are so important in our schools and which we constantly talk about on a day-to-day basis!
Byers, T. & Imms, W. (2016). Evaluating the change in space in a technology-enables primary years setting. In K. Fisher (Ed.), The Translational Design of Schools (pp. 199-220). Sense Publishers.