A research and consultancy project funded for three years from 2018 to 2020 led by The University of Melbourne.
The term innovative learning environment, or ILE, is becoming commonly used to describe a school facility design that is characterized by highly flexible spaces, purposeful furniture and other learning space affordances, and ubiquitous technology. The Plans to Pedagogy (P2P) research program implements a school-based strategy for assisting teachers to develop the skills and knowledge required to more effectively use ILEs as a pedagogic tool. It seeks to investigate the processes that schools undertake to design, build, engage and fully utilise the affordances these spaces provide. This program of research seeks to answer the question:
How can school leaders and teachers effectively engage in the design, development and use of innovative learning environments?
The Plans to Pedagogy (P2P) program works with schools to implement a ‘capacity building’ program with a selection of Australian and New Zealand schools to tackle this important issue. Currently 11 P2P schools were recruited for this project in late 2017.
This Program engages with a small (up to 6) ‘spatial learning’ group of highly motivated teachers within each of these schools. Each spatial learning group works under the direct supervision of a LEaRN expert. This P2P research program will be conducted over three years, using exploratory and mixed methods research design.
Detailed project outline
- Develop teachers’ spatial competencies;
- Use these developed spatial competencies to develop a suite of school-based activities relevant to each school’s specific needs;
- Use this knowledge to implement each research program into the participating school, to be run by these teacher groups, with LEaRNs oversight.
This project will provide missing evidence about the ways in which teachers and leaders engage with designing, building, and preparing to teach and learn in these new environments. The Plans to Pedagogy program of study seeks to investigate the practices of teachers and leaders across a wide range of schools from Government and other education authorities with Australia and New Zealand. These varied contexts will provide opportunities to unlock not only the massive investments being made in these schools, but also to evaluate longer-term, sustainable quality teaching practices in schools.
This project has the potential for significant impact on the effective use of ILE’s in schools.
The project will directly address the Australian Federal Government’s strategic goals of lifting productivity and economic growth, which require building innovative, creative capacities within each sector of society. Consequently, it will provide considerable value to students, teachers, their schools and communities, education systems, the wider public and the field of education. Additionally, the project meets educational reform priorities of the Melbourne Declaration on Educational goal for Young Australians through promoting “personalised learning that aims to fulfil the diverse capabilities of each young Australian”, developing learners’ “capacity to learn and play an active role in their own learning” and encourage learners who “are creative, innovative and resourceful, and are able to solve problems in ways that draw upon a range of learning areas and disciplines” (Barr, Gillard et al. 2008, pg. 6-9).
A/Prof Wes Imms, Project Lead
Dr Ben Cleveland, Senior Lecturer/Co-researcher
Dr Marian Mahat, Senior Research Fellow
Dr Joanne Blannin, Research Fellow
Banner: Melba College, Y2 Architecture. Photo by Peter Hyatt.