June Wall & Jonathon Mascorella - Designing Learning Spaces - putting the cart before the horse #futureschools

June Wall presenting at Future School
Learning environments can be defined as a set of physical and digital locations, context and cultures in which students learn.

Wall argues that environment IS important as it can shape how we behave and learn within it. She talks about the five cases - the zero case, the digital case, the side by side case, the embedded case and the classical case. Couldn't quite capture the meaning of each, but she concluded that the embedded case.

Found this explanation

Learning environments can be defined as the set of physical and digital locations, contexts and cultures in which students learn. Five typical cases of learning environments can be distinguished with respect to their relation to digital devices:

1. The zero case: there are no relevant physical or digital relevant stimuli in the environment of a person. The cognitive representations of the person can be formed rather independent of the outside world: thinking, dreaming, visualising something based on memory and creativity processes. In this case there is an internally stimulated representation of the learning environment.

2. The digital case: when the physical environment includes digital learning devices, but does not provide relevant non-digital stimuli to the user. For instance in a quiet study room when using a simulation program. The representation of the learning environment can dominantly be influenced by the digital device(s), e.g. by presenting a virtual reality world, a serious game, a virtual classroom or a (digital) book. The cognitive representations that are stimulated by the digital device can result in learning processes. In this case there is a digital stimulated representation of the learning environment.

3. The embedded case: the physical environment provides relevant stimuli to the user and the digital devices are adding, augmenting information to enrich the cognitive representation. In this case there is a combined, partly digital, partly physical stimulated representation of the learning environment.

4. The side-by-side case: the digital devices are added to a physical environment to support additional learning functions such as information, support, tests and feedback, but the digital devices are ignorant of the actual physical environment. All information about the physical environment should be added to the device by the user. For example when students are presented with tasks to execute in their physical environment, but they need to input the results to the digital device themselves. In this case the user’s representation of the learning environment is fragmented: the physical parts and the digital parts.

5. The classical case: the physical environment provides relevant stimuli, and there are no additional digital relevant signals. This is ‘old school’ situation where humans are interacting and learning without the help of any digital device. In this case there is a representation of the learning environment by the user that is stimulated by the physical environment.

Source: http://slejournal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40561-014-0005-4

Therefore the ideal according Wall is: 

The embedded case: the physical environment provides relevant stimuli to the user and the digital devices are adding, augmenting information to enrich the cognitive representation. In this case there is a combined, partly digital, partly physical stimulated representation of the learning environment.

This makes sense to me, I'd call this a well integrated blended learning space. 

At this point Mascorella took over. 

What do we want the students to achieve in this space?
What do the students want to achieve in this space?
What do the teachers want to achieve in this space?

Educators and experts often design these spaces in isolation. 

This reminded me of Chris Bradbeer's blogpost about the process where student voice contributed to the Stonefield Schools second build. 

Mascorella talked of the need for the designers to start with the needs of the learners, to start with end in mind. 

He also talks about the need to teach the teachers how to use the space. 

Have stopped processing. Brain is now near to overflowing. Which doesn't bode well for my near. graveyard shift at 4pm!

Some good learning here at #futureschools. 

Thanks for a great Day One. 

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